#VAWA18 Statement from Katie Ray-Jones, CEO, National Domestic Violence Hotline

Congress must vote YES on the 2018 Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act

We are grateful to Representative Jackson Lee, Representative Jerold Nadler, and Representative Nancy Pelosi for their continued commitment to the millions of women and men who are victims and survivors of domestic and sexual violence. These legislators introduced the 2018 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act  (VAWA) in Washington, DC today. Since its first passage in 1994, VAWA has provided a national, streamlined response to how communities address and prevent domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking.

With each reauthorization, critical enhancements have been made to include the needs of the most marginalized and vulnerable survivors. We are encouraged to see such strong support of this bill that 1) recognizes the significance of investing in evidence-based prevention programs to stop the generational cycle of abuse, including programs that focus on engaging boys and men; 2) recognizes tribal sovereignty by allowing prosecution of non-native offenders of sexual assault, child abuse, trafficking, and stalking; 3) continues to support resources and programming for underserved communities and communities of color; and 4) enhanced housing protections for survivors.

In 2017, The Hotline answered more than 320,000 contacts from those seeking support, however nearly 98,000 calls went unanswered due to a lack of resources. Direct service, housing, and legal services programs for domestic violence survivors continue to face similar challenges. The 2018 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act provides vital improvements for survivors that will save lives and make communities safer. It’s important that Congress pass this life-saving legislation and show that they support the 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men who will experience abuse in their lifetime.”

Katie Ray-Jones, CEO, National Domestic Violence Hotline