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 2018. The bill was introduced on July 26, 2018 by Representative Jackson Lee and contains realistic and much needed enhancements to our current law.
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) remains the only piece of federal legislation that includes explicit civil rights protections for LGBTQ communities. These protections have altered the landscape for LGBTQ survivors, particularly for those living on the margins- not only in setting the floor for civil rights protections in future legislation, but also in opening doors for many more survivors to access care and support during a critical moment in their lives.
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 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, 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 research that does exist shows that upwards of 50% of transgender people will experience intimate partner violence at some point in their lives.
These higher rates of violence are often due to the lack of LGBTQ affirming programs and services thus creating a barrier to inclusive prevention programming, safety planning, and supportive services. The resources that have been made available to LGBTQ programs as well as funds designated to training and technical assistance on serving underserved communities through VAWA has helped programs become better equipped to serve the unique needs of LGBTQ survivors. Without access to this funding, LGBTQ survivors would be harmed in even greater numbers.
The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2018 builds upon our previous success by affirming current protections for LGBTQ communities, including providing for enhanced data collection and an expanded focus on underserved communities. In addition, the bill also includes:
- Improved healthcare responses for survivors including better coordinated response in the healthcare system.
- Provisions to protect Native survivors of domestic violence, sexual violence, stalking, and dating violence and ensures that they can access the justice they deserve.
- Protects survivors and victims from abusive partners with dangerous weapons.
- Improved protections for survivors in federal public, subsidized and assisted housing.
- Enhanced criminal legal responses so that survivors can access justice without fearing harm from law enforcement.
- 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, particularly people of color, LGBTQ communities, people with disabilities, Native survivors, immigrant survivors, people in later life, faith-based communities and other underserved communities. As a result of a fully inclusive VAWA being re-authorized, more survivors will have access to necessary life-saving services reflecting our country’s deep commitment to address the needs of all domestic violence, dating violence, sexual violence, and stalking survivors.
Call your representatives today and tell them that you support a #VAWA4ALL