Violence Against Women Act Reauthorized in Historic Bipartisan Spending Deal

Last week, Republican and Democratic lawmakers passed a $1.5 trillion spending bill that would fund the government through the remainder of the fiscal year. In addition to providing aid to Ukraine and domestic federal programs, the bill dedicated $575 million to renew the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) which was first signed into law in 1994 but expired in 2019. Under the bill’s health provisions, VAWA’s renewal will enhance existing protections for women from domestic violence, stalking, and sexual assault. The bill will also expand these protections to include protection for transgender, immigrant, and Native American women.

Section 1507 also directs the Secretary of Education, the Attorney General, and the CDC to develop an “Online Survey Tool for Campus Safety,” a “standardized online survey tool” to document student experiences with sexual violence, sexual harassment, and stalking on campus. The Survey Tool will also include survey “questions regarding whether students know about the institutional practices and procedures” related to dating violence, sexual assault and harassment, and to comment on an institution’s reporting and investigative practices. Section 1507(e) also states that the Survey Tool should be “readily accessible” to all students and those with disabilities.

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) praised the legislation stating, “this long-overdue authorization will help protect survivors.” President Biden signed the bill into law on March 15 and promoted the reauthorization of VAWA at the spending bill signing, saying that the VAWA has “helped women rebuild their lives and make children a heck of a lot safer.” The White House also subsequently released a fact sheet about VAWA.

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