Highlights from Senate’s The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2022

Highlights from Senate’s The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2022

Improves services for survivors

  • Significantly increases the authorizations for the Sexual Assault Services Program to keep pace with the need and demand for survivor services.
  • Includes an enhanced definition of domestic violence, recognizing verbal, psychological, economic, and technological abuse.
  • Provides for a direct response to survivors’ emergency needs through the Sexual Assault Services Program.
  • Defines restorative justice, and creates a new community-based program to support training and programs to provide non-carceral accountability for survivors who seek such approaches.
  • Expands survivor access to Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) services and expands opportunities for health professionals to receive SANE training.
  • Raises the cap on conference expenditures requiring additional approval to $100,000.

Improves the criminal justice response

  • Provides guidance to prosecutors receiving grant funding to reduce arrests and detaining of victims for failure to appear in criminal proceedings.
  • Is the first version of VAWA to carry provisions responsive to incarcerated women, including provisions re: geographic placement, and re-entry, among others.
  • Expands availability and access to sexual assault forensic examinations and specialized nurse examiners.

Responds to the needs of diverse populations

  • Updates language to center people with disabilities and expands reach to include Deaf individuals with emphasis on accessibility for this population.
  • Increases access to resources for rural communities to respond to and prevent domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking.
  • Authorizes a new grant to provide community-specific services for LGBT victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking.
  • Maintains existing nondiscrimination protections, so that all survivors have access to essential services.
  • Invests in culturally specific programs, services, and responses.
  • Increases funding authorization to expand access to services in high demand across all underserved populations.
  • Strengthens responsiveness of social, medical, and human services by allowing population-specific training for service providers on domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking in underserved populations, culturally specific communities, and LGBTQ communities.

Addresses survivors’ economic needs

  • Shares findings on the economic impact of violence on survivors.
  • Expands the scope of the National Resource Center on Workplace Responses to Assist Victims of Domestic and Sexual Violence to include survivors of sexual harassment, work with victim service providers, enhances workforce development program and increases appropriations to support expanded scope.
  • Mandates a study on barriers to survivor’s economic access direct by the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Secretary of Labor and requires a report to Congress on survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking and student loans at institutes of higher education.

Improves the civil legal response

  • Creates a pilot program to fund development of electronic service of process.
  • Provides tools to ensure adjudicated abusers who are prohibited from possessing firearms do not acquire new ones.
  • Includes a more comprehensive definition of legal assistance, and expands access to legal services across grant programs.

Invests in prevention and in young people

  • Expands prevention programs on college campuses, including work with campus health centers. Requires campus climate surveys to get an accurate picture of the problem of gender-based violence on campuses.
  • Increases the funding authorization for SMART Prevention grants that prevent dating violence
  • Signfiicantly increases the authorizations for the Rape Prevention & Education Program to keep pace with the need and demand for community prevention.
  • Augments and funds the meaningful involvement of sexual assault coalitions in the implementation of the Rape Prevention & Education Program.

Increases access to safety and justice for Indian survivors

  • Reaffirms Tribal criminal jurisdiction over non-Indian perpetrators of sexual assault, stalking, child abuse, sex trafficking, obstruction of justice, and assault against Tribal law enforcement and correctional officers.
  • Creates a pilot project to allow a limited number of Alaska Native Villages to exercise special criminal jurisdiction over certain crimes.
  • Creates a reimbursement program under which the Attorney General may reimburse Tribal governments for expenses incurred in exercising special Tribal criminal jurisdiction.

Increases victim access to safe housing

  • Enhances implementation, compliance, and enforcement of VAWA’s housing protections.
  • Amends the HEARTH Act’s homelessness definition to better reflect the experiences of survivors.
  • Reauthorizes and improves the VAWA transitional housing program.