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Sen. Joni Ernst introduces historic Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2022

The Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault (IowaCASA) applauds Sen. Joni Ernst, along with the leadership of Senators Dianne Feinstein, Lisa Murkowski and Dick Durbin, for introducing the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2022 this afternoon. This is a bipartisan Senate bill to meet the needs of victims, survivors, and advocates. The House voted last March to reauthorize the legislation, which is up for renewal every five years and lapsed in 2019 when the Senate did not pass it.

“This bill is truly historic and will have a profound, life-saving impact on survivors right here in Iowa,” says Beth Barnhill, Executive Director for IowaCASA. “Sen. Ernst’s tireless efforts surrounding VAWA should be commended, and we are grateful for her collaboration with others in Congress to introduce a bill that anti-sexual violence organizations like ours can support. Now that we have a bill introduced, we call on members of Congress to work together to pass VAWA as soon as possible. Survivors simply cannot wait any longer for this vital legislation to be signed into law.”

The VAWA bill introduced today makes many improvements that survivors need, including:

  • Historic provisions returning sovereignty to Indigenous tribes over non-Native offenders of sexual assault, child abuse, and trafficking

  • New protections for survivors of sexual assault who are experiencing homelessness, and provisions that strengthen housing protections for survivors

  • A new program to specifically serve the needs of LGBTQ+ survivors

  • Expands services to survivors in rural areas

  • Investments in culturally specific programs and communities of color

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is one of the pillars of the Federal government’s response to sexual violence, domestic assault, and stalking. First signed into law in 1994, VAWA authorizes a number of grant programs to provide services and housing to survivors and training to improve the legal response to gender-based violence. Every time they have reauthorized VAWA, Congress has made vital, and often groundbreaking improvements. The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2022 is based on extensive outreach to survivors, direct service providers, and other stakeholders.



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