Improving VAWA

VAWA is before Congress and several crucial improvements may not be included. Advocates nationwide agree — the 2012 Act should better protect youth and other, under-served groups. We support the following:

  • Inclusion of the Campus SaVE Act (S.834 and H.R.2016) which would require colleges and universities to report the number of incidents of dating violence and stalking that occur on campus each year, in addition to the current requirement of reporting sexual assault numbers. This initiative would also strengthen prevention programs, victim services, disciplinary action and law enforcement on campus when addressing dating violence, sexual violence and stalking.
  • Inclusion of specific language for the protection of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people, including youth. Importantly, S.1925 recognizes LGBTQ individuals as a traditionally underserved population in need of appropriate services. The bill includes a specific purpose area in the STOP program allowing states to develop tailored queer-friendly programs for LGBTQ youth and adult victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. Finally, the bill makes it clear that programs receiving VAWA funding cannot discriminate against anyone, including discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity
  • The new Creating Hope through Outreach, Options, Services, and Education for Youth program (CHOOSE Youth) which combines the Specialized Direct Services for Youth from STARY and the Support for School Policies & Personnel Training to Address Violence of STEP to best create coordinated community responses to dating violence and sexual violence against youth
  • Reauthorization of the Grants to Reduce Violent Crimes against Women on Campus program with a few simple improvements that will help all students receive benefits, including those who may be traditionally underserved
  • The new Saving Money And Reducing Tragedies Through Prevention program (Smart Prevention) which combines the grants to assist children and youth exposed to violence program and the engaging men and youth in preventing domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking program with additional strengthening of prevention efforts
  • The much improved Grants for Outreach and Services to Underserved Populations which supports services for traditionally underserved victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. Such services will be tailored to the unique needs of victims who may face barriers to accessing traditional services including LGBTQ youth, youth of color, youth with disabilities and immigrant youth, as well as youth in general
  • Reauthorization of the Sexual Assault Services Program to effectively respond to the sexual coercion and violence so often experienced by young people
  • Reauthorization of the critical Legal Assistance for Victims program which helps make sure that youth and adult victims who need legal assistance are able to get it

Through these programs, Congress can ensure that young people have the resources necessary to mature into healthy and productive citizens. It is time to protect young people from abuse and teach them to build prosperous, healthy, violence-free futures.