Continuing Support for Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization
Keeping VAWA in Congress's Mind
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was passed in 1994, and it has been reauthorized with broad bipartisan support each time it has come up for reauthorization – until the last congress. The Senate passed a version of VAWA (S. 1925) with protections for Native women, immigrant women, and LGBT victims of domestic and sexual violence, but the House refused to pass a bill with those protections. These groups are particularly vulnerable to such violence. For example, one in three Native women are sexually assaulted - the highest rate of any racial or ethnic group in the United States. Undocumented immigrant women who are sexually assaulted frequently refuse to report it because they are afraid of being deported. The version of VAWA passed by the Senate would have addressed these problems, but because the House would not pass a similar bill, the program expired.
FCNL continues to support VAWA – particularly the amendments included in the Senate version that provide tribal governments with full concurrent jurisdiction over people who commit certain crimes of domestic violence on tribal lands. FCNL also supports the amendments that provide protection for LGBT and immigrant victims of domestic violence. Without these provisions, Native American, LGBT, and immigrant women remain uniquely vulnerable.
Write to your representative and senators to encourage them to reauthorize VAWA in the new Congress. Refer them to the description of the jurisdictional problems in the winter 2010 issue of FCNL’s Indian Report.
Read FCNL’s resources and previous work on VAWA:
- Fall 2010 Indian Report on crime in Indian Country
- November 2011 letter of support to Senator Akaka
- December 2011 interfaith letter to Senate Judiciary Committee members
- Spring 2012 interfaith letters to all members of Congress
- June 2012 interfaith letter in support of Senate version of VAWA
- November 2012 faith letter to Congressional leaders