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117th Congress Legislative Update: April 2021 


The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) passed the House.

On March 17, the House voted to pass the bipartisan Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA) of 2021 (H.R. 1620). The bill, which expired in 2018, was reintroduced on March 8 by Representatives Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), and Jerrold Nadler (D-NY). Similar to the VAWA reauthorization bill that passed the House in April 2019 (H.R. 1585) and the Senate companion bill introduced by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) in November 2019 (S.2843), this bill would build on the progress of the 2013 VAWA reauthorization by reaffirming the inherent sovereignty authority of Tribal Nations to hold non-Indian perpetrators accountable in cases involving child abuse, sexual assault, stalking, and trafficking. The bill, which was developed in partnership with national and tribal advocacy organizations, also includes critical resources for tribes to implement VAWA.

The bill will now be sent to the Senate for consideration.

Take Action! Tell your Senators to pass VAWA with tribal provisions like those in H.R. 1620. Find contact information here.

The Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) was reintroduced in the House.

On March 23, Representatives Lucy McBath (D-GA-06), Gwen Moore (D-WI-04), Don Young (R-AK-At Large), and John Katko (R-NY-24) introduced the Family Violence Prevention and Services Improvement Act (H.R. 2119). Authorization for the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) expired in 2015. This FVPSA reauthorization bill provides critical support for shelters, coalitions, training and technical assistance centers, children’s services, emergency response hotlines, and prevention initiatives. FVPSA is also the only federal grant program solely dedicated to domestic violence shelter and supportive services and is the primary source of funding for these services for Indian tribes.

Similar to S. 2259 and H.R. 5041, which were introduced in the last congress, this newly reintroduced FVPSA bill would expand grant programs and make many needed improvements so that more survivors have access to support and safety including:

  • Increasing the overall funding authorization level to address very low per-program funding levels and provide access to FVPSA funds for more tribes and programs not currently funded.
  • Authorizing recognition and meaningful funding for tribal coalitions to provide Indian tribes and tribal organizations with technical assistance and training on developing responses to domestic violence.
  • Authorizing recognition and permanent funding for the currently funded Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center.
  • Authorizing recognition and permanent funding for the currently funded StrongHearts Native Helpline to serve as the national Indian domestic violence hotline.
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