The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP), a coalition of more than 50 LGBTQ anti-violence organizations across the country, urges Congress to pass the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2019, H.R. 1585.
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) remains the only piece of federal legislation that includes explicit civil rights protections for LGBTQ communities. VAWA focuses on preventing and responding to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. These protections have altered the landscape for lesbian, gay, bisexual transgender and queer (LGBTQ) survivors – particularly for those who experience marginalization based on more than one identity – by increasing access to essential survivor services and setting a precedent for civil rights protections in future legislation.
Research shows that LGBTQ people experience high rates of intimate partner violence, sexual violence, stalking, and dating violence and far too many of these survivors are not able to access supportive services. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC)’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2010 Findings on Victimization by Sexual Orientation, 44% of lesbian women, 61% of bisexual women, 37% of bisexual men and 26% of gay men have experienced rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner at some point in their lives. Research on transgender communities is still limited, but the data that does exist shows that upwards of 50% of transgender people will experience intimate partner violence at some point in their lives. Most recently, NCAVP reported that 37% of LGBTQ intimate partner violence cases included heterosexist or anti-LGBTQ bias.
These high rates of violence are often caused and exacerbated by a lack of LGBTQ affirming prevention and support. VAWA has increased the accessibility of resources for LGBTQ programs, and established opportunities for other programs to receive training and technical assistance so they can better serve LGBTQ survivors. Without this funding, LGBTQ survivors and other underserved communities would be harmed in even greater numbers.
The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2019 affirms current protections for LGBTQ and other underserved communities and provides enhanced data collection. In addition, the bill also includes:
- Provisions to protect Native survivors of domestic violence, sexual violence, stalking, and dating violence and ensure that they can access the justice they deserve;
- Protections from abusive partners with dangerous weapons;
- Improved protections for survivors in federal public, subsidized and assisted housing; and
- Increased funding for sexual violence prevention and education programs.
This bill reflects the field’s commitment to ensuring that all survivors have access to services and care when experiencing intimate partner violence, sexual violence, stalking, and dating violence. As a result of a fully inclusive VAWA being re-authorized, more survivors will have access to necessary life-saving services, and supporting the needs of all survivors will be affirmed as a national priority.
To express your support for this vital piece of legislation, call your Representatives today and encourage them to sponsor H.R. 1585, and call your Senators to ask that they introduce a bill with the same provisions of H.R. 1585.