26 years in, the Violence Against Women Act hangs in limbo – while COVID fuels a domestic violence surge

efforts to reauthorize VAWA, which requires legislative renewal every five years, have stalled since 2019, largely due to disputes over a provision that would prohibit gun purchases by people who have been convicted of domestic violence against a partner they are not married to, and do not live or coparent with. (If an abusive partner has access to guns, that heightens the risk of abuse translating into homicide.) President Donald Trump has not focused on either the legislation or the issue of domestic violence, whether from the White House or the campaign trail.

For now, there is still money backing VAWA’s signature grant programs, which has awarded more than $8 billion since 1995. That includes dedicated funding for resources like rape crisis centers and survivor advocates, as well as discretionary funds that support, for instance, efforts to combat dating violence on college campuses or facilitate outreach to underserved communities. But those resources could dry up if the law isn’t renewed or if money isn’t authorized through some other funding stream. And that’s just as the pandemic is heightening the need.


The landmark legislation expired last year, and hasn’t yet been renewed. That could lead to severe health impacts.

By Shefali LuthraThe 19th

Sep. 16, 2020

Originally Published By The 19th

As COVID-19 appears to be fueling spikes in domestic violence, the Violence Against Women Act — the landmark legislation that enshrined federal protections and support for survivors — has emerged as a focal point of Joe Biden’s presidential campaign. But for now, the law remains in a legislative limbo that could have severe health impacts — particularly during the pandemic.

This weekend marked 26 years since the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was signed into law. Biden and his campaign surrogates have touted the law, which Biden sponsored when he was a Delaware senator as a centerpiece of his commitment to women. Between 1994 and 2010, intimate partner violence has dropped by more than 60 percent, according to the Department…

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