Signatures Needed: Republicans Just Let The Violence Against Women Act Expire

Trump and Republicans are so desperate to advance their anti-immigrant agenda that they just let landmark legislation to prevent violence against women expire.1

Congress first passed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in 1994 and reauthorized it three times with bipartisan support. But Trump Republicans are not really interested in protecting women. Instead of passing legislation to fully fund VAWA, they keep passing short-term extensions as part of must-pass spending bills, which is why VAWA expired when they shut down the government over border wall funding.

Stopping violence should be a priority for every member of Congress, not a partisan issue. Speak out now to demand that Congress restore VAWA immediately. The safety of survivors depends on it.

Since Congress first passed VAWA 24 years ago, the program has funded prevention programs like the National Domestic Violence Hotline, which has received more than 4 million calls since its launch, and hundreds of nonprofit organizations and social service programs that provide housing, counseling and legal aid to survivors of violence.2 Programs funded by VAWA have played a crucial role in changing our collective understanding of gender-based violence, shifting it away from victim-blaming and toward accountability for perpetrators. Because of VAWA, we’re moving in the right direction, but there is still so much work to do.


One in four women experience severe intimate partner violence in their lifetimes.3 Survivors often grapple with lasting mental and physical trauma as well as heightened economic insecurity. If Congress does not restore VAWA, all forms of gender-based violence will get worse and survivors won’t have access to the resources they need to stay safe.

With the youngest, most progressive and most diverse group of members in history now controlling the House of Representatives, we have new champions in Congress who could fight for VAWA and push forward legislation to strengthen it. It’s up to us to make sure they act.

Tell Congress: Reauthorize and strengthen the Violence Against Women Act.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee’s Violence Against Women Act of 2018 is model legislation. It improves on previous versions and includes these important provisions:4

  • Barring evictions of survivors based on the actions of their abusers.
  • Prohibiting those who have been convicted of dating violence or stalking from possessing firearms.
  • Explicitly acknowledging the concerns of Native American women by improving tribal access to federal crimes databases and affirming tribal criminal jurisdiction in cases even when the assailant is not a member of the tribe.
  • Ensuring that technological abuse including online harassment is taken seriously.
  • Expanding protections for LGBTQ survivors.

It seems impossible to imagine that just as survivors are feeling safe speaking out and sharing their #MeToo stories, Congress could defund the programs that provide them with support. But Republicans are nothing if not consistently hostile to women. They tried to play games around reauthorization in 2013 because they opposed protections for LGBTQ people, immigrants and Native Americans, but with massive pressure from CREDO members and our allies, Democratic champions gained the bipartisan support they needed to pass VAWA.5

We need to unleash that same grassroots power to make sure Congress reauthorizes VAWA again – and we must do it now.

Tell Congress: Reauthorize and strengthen the Violence Against Women Act.

Thank you for all you do.


  1. Elise Viebeck, “Violence Against Women Act expires with government shutdown,” The Washington Post, Dec. 22, 2018.
  2. Kate Thayer, “Violence Against Women Act lapse is part of government shutdown. Advocates: What message does that send?” Chicago Tribune, Jan. 3, 2019.
  3. National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, “Statistics,” accessed Jan. 3, 2019.
  4. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, “H.R.6545 – Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2018,” accessed Jan. 3, 2019.
  5. Ashley Killough, Maeve O’Brien and Dan Scully, “Democrats pitch plan to reauthorize Violence Against Women Act,” CNN, July 26, 2018.