Submitted by Patrick Cassidy.
WASHINGTON, DC—Today, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) joined a bipartisan majority of the House of Representatives in voting to pass H.R. 1620, a bipartisan bill that would provide for comprehensive, long-term reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) through 2026. Today’s reauthorization builds on the progress ushered in by the landmark Violence Against Women Act of 1994, which called for the protection of all Americans from violence and abuse, and enhances life-saving protections for women and men throughout Connecticut and across the country.
VAWA expired in 2018. The House voted to pass bipartisan legislation reauthorizing VAWA in 2019, but the former Senate majority failed to take the bill up for a vote. H.R. 1620 closely reflects the bipartisan 2019 VAWA reauthorization.
“VAWA has helped reduce rates of domestic violence by more than 60% since it was first passed in 1994,” said Rep. Courtney. “There’s nothing partisan or political about ridding our communities of domestic assault and violence against women, and that’s why I’m proud to say this reauthorization had support from both sides of the aisle. VAWA works, and today’s reauthorization will make sure it keeps working. As an attorney who practiced law in eastern Connecticut for over two decades, I have seen firsthand in courthouses and police departments the support that VAWA provides to reduce domestic violence. Even with that success, the extent of domestic violence in the U.S. is still way too high, and during COVID we know that many women and children have had to learn, work, and live in homes where they don’t feel safe. Reauthorization of VAWA will ensure that lifeline resources are there for victims of domestic assault and abuse when they need it, I was proud to pass today’s bipartisan reauthorization, and I encourage the Senate to follow our lead this year.”
Today’s reauthorization reaffirms protections for women, and includes critical improvements to address gaps in current law that have been identified by victims, survivors and advocates. This bipartisan bill will:
- Improve the services available for victims and survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking
- Improve access to housing protections and financial assistance available for victims and survivors;
- Improve protections for Native women, including by reaffirming tribal criminal jurisdiction over non-Indian perpetrators of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking;
- Close 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
- Invest in tools and resources for law enforcement and evidence-based prevention programs that make our communities safer.