Government Shutdown Jeopardizes Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Victims and Programs

Urge the House to vote to end the shutdown now by voting for a clean continuing resolution!

The federal government shutdown is having a very real impact in the lives of survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault across the country.  Because the federal agencies that administer funding for the thousands of programs that serve victims have ceased operating, many programs are already (or will soon be) without access to the federal resources they rely on to provide life-saving services every day.  A prolonged shutdown means that victims fleeing violence and seeking supportive services will be without access to emergency shelter, an advocate during the rape kit exam, crisis intervention, or other critical services needed to escape and heal. 

Even before the shutdown began, service providers across the country were often operating on shoestring budgets, having been squeezed by repeated cuts to funding and the federal sequestration.  The truth of the shutdown is that the burden on Congress to agree on the federal budget is tragically being passed off to victims, amplifying their vulnerability and forcing them to stay in harm’s way.  

Victims are bearing the weight of our lawmakers’ inability to agree on federal spending.  While programs remain committed to staying open and providing services as long as they possibly can, they will not be able to weather an extended shutdown. The shutdown must end now in order to ensure that no more programs have to close their doors to victims in desperate need of services and support.


Targeted Action:

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was renewed in March with bi-partisan support in the House and Senate.  The government shutdown undermines this lifesaving bill.  Let’s call on those who voted for VAWA to make good on their commitments – to fund the federal government’s response to domestic violence and sexual assault.  Tell all Representatives, especially Republicans who voted for VAWA (found here) that the shutdown is endangering the very victims they voted to protect just a few months ago!


For more information on how the shutdown is impacting victims of sexual assault and domestic violence:

NNEDV’s press statement

NAESV’s press statement

The Nation article

ThinkProgress article



Find Members’ Twitter handles here.

.@[handle] The #shutdown is hurting #DV & #SA programs, leaving victims with nowhere to turn. Need clean CR now! #JustVote



Find phone numbers for Representatives on our target list here.

When you’re connected to their offices, say (or leave a message saying): 

  1. I am a constituent from (city and state) and my name is _____________.
  2. Please tell Representative _________ to vote to end the shutdown and pass a clean continuing resolution to fund the government. The shutdown is placing domestic violence shelters and rape crisis centers in serious danger of closing, leaving victims with nowhere to turn for safety and support.
  3. The House must move to a vote in order to ensure that life-saving services will continue to be available to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.


For more information, fact sheets, press coverage, support letters and updates continue to visit

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