Press Releases

Chairman Nadler, Subcommittee Chairwoman Jackson Lee & Rep. Fitzpatrick Applaud House Passage of Bipartisan Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2021

Washington, March 17, 2021

Washington, D.C. - Today, the House passed H.R. 1620, the bipartisan Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA) of 2021 by a bipartisan vote of 244-172. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Chair of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security along with House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Representative Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) introduced the legislation which authorizes funding for a variety of critical grant programs, including for victim services, prevention, training, education, enforcement, economic stability, and other programs that support survivors and help them to heal and to access justice. 

VAWA’s authorization expired in 2018. Last Congress, the House passed a bipartisan reauthorization, but the Senate failed to take it up. It has now been eight years since VAWA was last authorized. The landmark legislation, enacted in 1994 under the leadership of then-Senate Judiciary Chair Joe Biden, responds to our nation’s crisis of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.  

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler: “I thank the Chair of the Crime Subcommittee, Sheila Jackson Lee, for her long-time leadership in this effort to pass a VAWA reauthorization and appreciate the bipartisan support of Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick. The programs created under this law have saved lives and provided support to millions of women and others who are victims of domestic abuse, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.  VAWA has been reauthorized three times on a bipartisan basis.  And each time we consider a new reauthorization, we examine what is working and what can be improved, and we make needed amendments to the law. I applaud House passage of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2021. We passed a version of this bill in 2019, but it did not get a vote in Mitch McConnell’s Senate, where even the needs of survivors of domestic abuse were ignored. Now that we have a true champion in the Senate in Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, and in the White House, with President Joe Biden who wrote the original Violence Against Women Act, I know that they will do everything they can to see this legislation become law. The Senate must act without delay to reauthorize VAWA and to enhance and expand the Act.” 

Subcommittee on Crime Chairwoman Sheila Jackson Lee: “Given the rise in domestic violence and sexual assault cases during this Covid-19 crisis, where perpetrators are spending significant amounts of time at home with their victims, this landmark, transformative legislation is needed now more than ever and as Chair of the House Judiciary Crime Subcommittee, I am determined to work with my colleagues and others to complete the mission of shepherding H.R. 1620, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2021, all the way through passage in the Senate to presentment for signature to President Biden, a strong supporter of the bill and the original creator of VAWA.”

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick: “VAWA has been instrumental in improving and enhancing our nation's response to safeguarding women and children from abuse, anguish, and violence. For years, VAWA programs have produced tangible, life-saving results, saving the lives of millions of women and children and providing educational tools to help survivors and their families rebuild their lives. This is not a partisan or controversial issue, which is why I put such a special emphasis on working to build broad bipartisan support for this critical, life-saving legislation. I’m thrilled to see that Kayden’s Law, which I authored, has also been included in this legislation and that Congress is directly addressing the important issue of protecting our children from family violence. 7-year old Kayden Mancuso of Bucks County was murdered by her father shortly after being awarded partial, unsupervised custody. This incident shook our community to its core and has served as a wake-up call for all levels of government that we must do more to protect our children.”

The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2021 improves current law in several important respects:

  • Enhances and expands victim services;
  • Reauthorizes grant programs to improve the criminal justice response to gender-based violence and expands allowable uses;
  • Invests in prevention;
  • Improves access to housing for victims and survivors;
  • Helps survivors gain and maintain economic independence;
  • Ends impunity for non-Native perpetrators of sexual assault, child abuse co-occurring with domestic violence, stalking, sex trafficking, and assaults on tribal law enforcement officers on tribal lands;
  • Supports Communities of Color;
  • Protects victims of dating violence from firearm homicide;
  • Maintains existing protections for all survivors; and
  • Improves the healthcare system’s response to domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking.
VAWA Reauthorization Act of 2021 is supported by the National Task Force To End Sexual and Domestic Violence (NTF), a large and diverse group of national, tribal, state, territorial, and local organizations, advocates, and individuals that focus on the development, passage and implementation of effective public policy to address domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. A full list of supporters is available here