April 04, 2019

Congresswoman Barbara Lee Votes to Reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee voted to pass H.R. 1585 a bipartisan, robust, long-term Violence Against Women Act reauthorization.  The landmark Violence Against Women Act of 1994 ushered in transformative progress by calling for the protection of all Americans from violence and abuse, and working to ensure all victims and survivors have the support they need.  This critical reauthorization will safeguard and further build upon these life-saving protections for women throughout the East Bay, California, and the country.

“Today the House of Representatives stood up for tribal women, for the LGBT community, for immigrant women, for women all across the United States, and to finally pass the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act.

“In addition to the protections this bill has provided for 26 years, it will now expand protections for the Native American women and will protect the transgender community – because EVERY American woman has the right to live free from abuse. This bill will now ensure that every victim of sexual violence has access to support. 

“As someone who understands domestic violence on a deeply personal level, I know how traumatic it is, and I know the strong and consistent support system needed to emerge as a survivor. In the 1960s in California, I had nowhere to turn for support. That is why I authored the Violence Against Women’s Act for the State of California, which was signed into law by a Republican Governor. VAWA is critical for the 1.3 million individuals who benefit from this program.

“That is what the reauthorization of VAWA will accomplish for all women. And I don't mean for some women. I mean for all women.”

This reauthorization fulfills Congress’s responsibility to protect all Americans by reaffirming protections for every woman, as well as including vital improvements to address gaps in current law that have been identified by victims, survivors and advocates.  This bipartisan bill:

  • Improves the services available for victims and survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking;
  • Expands the housing protections and financial assistance available for victims and survivors;
  • Improves protections for Native women, including by reaffirming tribal criminal jurisdiction over non-Indian perpetrators of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking;
  • Closes loopholes in current firearm laws in order help prevent “intimate partner” homicides, by prohibiting persons convicted of misdemeanor stalking or dating violence from possessing firearms; and
  • Invests in tools and resources for law enforcement and evidence-based prevention programs that make our communities safer.