WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Representative Ami Bera, M.D. (D-CA) voted to pass H.R. 1620, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization (VAWA) Act of 2021. This critical reauthorization, which passed the House of Representative with bipartisan support, will safeguard and build upon life-saving protections for women throughout California and across the country.
“Domestic violence continues to be a devastating reality for many women in the United States, with one in four women experiencing severe physical abuse from an intimate partner in their lifetime,” said Representative Bera. “By passing the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization, Congress is working in a bipartisan manner to ensure women throughout the country have the resources they need to seek justice, receive care, and rebuild their lives.”
The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2021 would:
- Make vital investments in prevention: Increase the authorization for the Rape Prevention & Education Program (RPE) to $110 million a year from $50 million a year and specifically includes prevention of sexual harassment to its authorized uses;
- Improve services for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking: Reauthorizes for fiscal years 2022 to 2026, key grants for programs providing services to the victims of domestic violence and sexual assault; and
- Improve the criminal justice response to gender-based violence, in order to make our communities safer: Reauthorizes the critical STOP (Services, Training, Officers, and Prosecutors) grants and allows the grants to be used to develop law enforcement tools and protocols for preventing domestic violence homicides.
Included in the VAWA reauthorization is an additional $40 million in grants to enhance culturally specific services for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault through 2026. Representative Bera has long advocated for robust funding to support grants for culturally specific services for domestic violence survivors. Recent surveys note that 40 to 60 percent of AAPI women experience physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
“Women in South Asian American communities experience alarmingly high rates of physical and sexual violence from their partners,” said Representative Bera. “It is often difficult for survivors in these communities to be heard and supported given cultural barriers and generational gaps. I am proud to have advocated for and secured funding for grants that support organizations that provide critical services to domestic violence and sexual assault survivors in communities of color. We must work to break down cultural barriers that exist around sexual assault.”
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