Making Justice Real

The Official Blog of the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia

VAWA Reauthorization is Critical to Protecting and Supporting Domestic Violence Survivors

More than 10 million adults in the United States experience domestic violence every year.[1] The Violence Against Women Act (“VAWA”), originally signed into law in 1994, authorized financial support for investigating and prosecuting violent crimes against women, established offices and grants to provide assistance, and created holistic programs to assist survivors and their communities, such as housing protections and rape crisis centers.[2] VAWA’s authorization lapsed in 2018. In March 2021, a reauthorization bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives, but it has stalled in the Senate. Legal Aid supports the passage of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2021 in order to sustain and improve upon protections for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking.

Today, October 5, 2021, the Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing on VAWA reauthorization. This bill increases access to grants for culturally specific organizations and increases authorized funding for programs and trainings. The legislation would also provide assistance to survivors with their housing options, update the definition of domestic violence, and improve the enforcement of domestic violence related firearms laws, among many other protections. You can find a summary of legislation here.

Please join Legal Aid as we support the reauthorization of VAWA. You can listen to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing on the reauthorization of VAWA on today at 10:00 AM EST at this link. #VAWA4ALL.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence and needs help, call or text the DC Victim Hotline at 1-844-4HELPDC, contact DC SAFE, or call Legal Aid at (202) 628-1161 or apply for assistance online.

Get Help 24/7 from the National Sexual Violence Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.


[1] National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (2020). Domestic violence. Retrieved from https://assets.speakcdn.com/assets/2497/domestic_violence-2020080709350855.pdf?1596811079991.
[2] https://nnedv.org/content/violence-against-women-act/.

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