WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, H.R. 1585, passed the House of Representatives on Thursday, March 4 by a vote of 263 to 158.

The bill passed with the support of Rep. Raul Ruiz, M.D., D-Palm Desert.

“As an emergency medicine physician, I have treated the broken and bruised bodies of survivors of domestic violence,” Dr. Raul Ruiz said in a prepared statement. “I have seen the psychological and physical scars domestic violence inflicts on victims, families, and our communities. I am inspired by their unbroken spirits and their determination to live free from violence. I voted for this bill to support survivors and ensure local shelters have the federal support they need to provide health care, counseling, legal assistance, and other services to empower survivors and end the scourge of domestic violence in our communities.”

The bill strengthens legal protections for survivors of domestic brutality and creates federal funding opportunities for local shelters in Riverside County and across the nation.

Data from The Centers  for Disease Control and Prevention National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) indicate:

  • Nearly 1 in 5 adult women and about 1 in 7 adult men report having experienced severe physical violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime.
  • About 1 in 6 women and 1 in 12 men have experienced contact sexual violence from an intimate partner (this includes rape, being made to penetrate someone else, sexual coercion, and unwanted sexual contact).
  • Ten percent of women and 2 percent of men report having been stalked by an intimate partner.

“An affirmative vote for the reauthorization of VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) 2019, H.R. 1585, is critically needed to continue to show survivors, especially in the Coachella Valley, that they are believed and their safety is of the highest priority,” Angelina Coe, Executive Director of Shelter from the Storm, said in a prepared statement. “It allows survivors of domestic violence, relationship violence, and sexual assault to have access to additional resources and all victims to have more pathways to safety and protection.”

The Violence Against Women Act was signed into law in 1994. The legislation expired on February 19, 2019, leaving critical prevention and treatment programs for survivors of domestic abuse unfunded.

H.R. 1585, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, reauthorizes the original bill and includes provisions that:

  • Strengthen legal protections for survivors of domestic violence;
  • Improve survivors’ access to safe, affordable housing;
  • Increase grant funding for programs aimed at preventing domestic abuse;
  • Strengthen legal protections for Native American women;and
  • Expand protections against discrimination in the workplace.

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline any time of the day or night, seven days a week at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

Image Sources

  • Domestic Violence: Utah Public Radio