The National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women is a diverse coalition of thousands of national, state and local organizations and individuals across the country unified by our commitment to end violence against women. Today, we express our deep disappointment over the House of Representatives’ passage of H.R. 4970. This legislation weakens or deletes entirely some of the vital improvements in the “real VAWA” passed by the Senate last month by a resounding bipartisan vote of 68-31.
“We are devastated that provisions that will endanger vulnerable immigrant victims passed in the House today. For the first time in nearly 20 years, this bill would weaken crucial protections in VAWA for battered immigrants, putting them at risk of retaliation by their abusers and undermining law enforcement and public safety" - Grace Huang, Public Policy Director of the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
"Today's vote ignored the reality of LGBT survivors of violence and would deny them the support and services that every survivor needs" - Sharon Stapel, Executive Director of the New York City Anti-Violence Project, which coordinates the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP).
“Native women aren’t safer as a result of the passage of H.R. 4970. In fact, the tribal provisions included in this bill create additional hurdles for Indian women seeking protection from violence on tribal lands, and that is unacceptable” - Juana Majel-Dixon, 1st Vice President of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) and co-chair of the NCAI Task Force on Violence Against Women.
The House bill passed ignores the needs of vulnerable communities, rolls back years of progress aimed at protecting victim safety, weakens provisions in the Senate bill to protect victims in public housing and on college campuses, and strips the rights of community stakeholders to give input on VAWA programs. The bill has been soundly rejected as dangerous to victims by more than 325 diverse organizations and leaders representing millions of constituents throughout the country.
“The passage of H.R. 4970 ignores the expertise of hundreds of organizations working to end violence against women” - Rita Smith, Executive Director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
Despite today’s 222-205 vote, we applaud the courage of the Republicans who crossed party lines to vote against this dangerous bill and the Democrats who stood with all victims of violence. The outcry from advocates from across the country resulted in significant bipartisan opposition to the bill and this swell of support will continue as the House and Senate meet in conference to reconcile the two bills.
“On behalf of advocates and rape crisis centers, the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence commits to working with all members of Congress to finalize VAWA legislation this year that upholds provisions in the Senate bill that ensure community stakeholders have a voice in the funding process and protect vulnerable populations while maintaining criminal justice improvements for victims of sexual assault” - Monika Johnson Hostler, National Alliance to End Sexual Violence President.
The National Task Force will continue to work towards a strong, bipartisan final bill that builds on VAWA’s successes andstrengthens protections for all victims of violence.
“The best post-Mother's Day gift that Members of Congress can give to their neighbors, daughters, sisters, mothers and grandmothers is to support a bipartisan VAWA that protects women from all backgrounds" - Gloria Lau, YWCA USA CEO.
WE ARE GRATEFUL to the House champions who voted AGAINST H.R. 4970 -- and who stood with victims in the fight to end domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking! THANK YOU for voting to protect ALL victims of these crimes!