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117th Congress Legislative Update: May 2021 


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

On April 21, Senators Lisa Murkowski (AK) and Robert Casey (PA) introduced the Family Violence Prevention and Services Improvement Act (S. 1275). 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 H.R. 2119, which was introduced in the House in March, this Senate 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.

May 5 Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) Resolutions and Presidential Proclamation introduced.

Members in the House and Senate introduced resolutions designating May 5, 2021 as the National Day of Awareness for MMIWG. May 5 was the birthday of Hanna Harris, a 21-year-old Northern Cheyenne woman who disappeared from her home in Lame Deer, Montana in 2013. Her body was found several days later by a volunteer search party after police failed to take the case seriously. Her case then went unsolved for 9 months.

The resolutions recognize the high rates of violence committed against Indigenous women and called for May 5 to serve as a day to commemorate the lives of those who have gone missing or have been murdered and to stand in solidarity with their families.

The White House issued a May 5 Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons Awareness Day proclamation, which called for implementation of Savanna’s Act and the Not Invisible Act, reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act with provisions that would restore tribal jurisdiction over non-Indian offenders, and interagency coordination at the Federal level on cases of MMIWG.

Take Action: Tell your Senators to pass the Violence Against Women Act with tribal provisions like those in H.R. 1620. Find contact information here.

Our mailing address is:
PO Box 99, Lame Deer, MT 59043
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