RELEASE: Congress Must Reauthorize, Expand, and Improve the Violence Against Women Act

Washington, D.C. — Last month, in a bipartisan vote, the House of Representatives reauthorized and strengthened the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which expired in February.

As the Senate looks to pass its own VAWA reauthorization bill, a new Center for American Progress column calls for the Senate to include key provisions to strengthen VAWA that are present in the House version:

  • Lessening the economic impact of intimate partner violence by breaking down barriers to housing and employment
  • Including common-sense safeguards to prohibit individuals with a history of violence from accessing firearms
  • Eliminating the “law enforcement consent loophole” that currently allows officers to claim that sexual interactions with individuals in their custody were consensual
  • Improving criminal justice responses for tribal jurisdictions
  • Increasing funding to ensure that sufficient, culturally competent services are available to help victims and survivors of gender-based in every community in America
  • Growing Congress’ investment in research and the development of strategies to prevent violence

“The original Violence Against Women Act marked a seismic shift in responses to gender-based violence, and VAWA has been strengthened and expanded each time it has been reauthorized,” said Lea Hunter, research assistant for Criminal Justice Reform and author of the column. “If the Senate were to pass a straight VAWA reauthorization, as some Republicans are threatening to do, it would be failing the hundreds of thousands of people who experience gender-based violence each year.”

Click here to read “Congress Must Reauthorize, Expand, and Improve VAWA in 2019” by Lea Hunter.

For more information on this topic or to speak to an expert, contact Julia Cusick at or 202.495.3682.