Re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which funds a great number of domestic violence service programs across Maryland, has been delayed in Congress’ rush to head home for the fall campaign season. Funding under the Act is extended for two to three months, but a year-long authorization and appropriation is needed to enshrine improvements in the program. Much debate on the House re-authorization bill, which is backed by 163 Democrats and no Republicans, is still needed.

The proposed House re-authorization bill:

  • promotes stable housing for victims of domestic violence and stalking stay in stable housing situations;
  • bars evictions based on the actions of an abuser; and
  • expands firearms laws to ensure that partners under protective orders or convicted of dating violence or stalking are prohibited from having a gun.
House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington, and domestic violence advocates across the country, are calling on President Trump to fill the long-vacant Director position at the Justice Department’s Office on Violence against Women.  The office has sat empty since the Obama Administration.
Advocates are also calling for the removal of the federal gag order that prevents the Centers for Disease Control, our nation’s top public health agency, from using the words “transgender, vulnerable, science-based, evidence-based and diversity, and entitlement.”
The Violence Against Women Act should at some point change it’s name to reflect the fact that  all people who are assaulted by intimate partners need services and help making sure they get the legal protection they need.