Thursday, U.S. Representative Terri A. Sewell, D-Selma, joined fellow Members of Congress to co-sponsor HR1585, a bipartisan, long-term reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.
“We have a duty to work to prevent the scourge of domestic violence and ensure that women in Alabama and throughout the country are safe from violence wherever they may be,” Congresswoman Sewell said. “My state of Alabama consistently ranks among the highest in the nation for domestic-violence-related deaths. This bill will go a long way in ensuring that victims have the resources necessary to pursue justice and rebuild their lives.”
The Violence Against Women Act of 1994 was designed to ensure that victims and survivors of domestic violence have access to essential services and to justice. Sponsors say that this reauthorization will safeguard and further build upon these life-saving protections for women throughout Alabama and across the country.
HR1585 was sponsored by Congresswoman Karen Bass, D-California, and co-sponsored by Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pennsylvania.
“We said reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was a priority in the first 100 days of this Congress, and today, we are keeping our word by introducing the bipartisan Violence Against Women Act of 2019,” Congresswoman Bass said. “I welcome my co-sponsor Mr. Fitzpatrick, who joins me in introducing this monumental piece of legislation, the Violence Against Women Act of 2019, which builds upon the amazing progress made under the leadership of my colleague, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, in the last Congress.”
“Congress must continue to aggressively combat domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking by swiftly reauthorizing the bipartisan Violence Against Women Act (VAWA),” said Congressman Fitzpatrick. “While there is still considerable work to be done, VAWA has drastically improved our nation’s response to safeguarding women and children from abuse and anguish. Congress has historically reauthorized VAWA with broad bipartisan agreement.”
Supporters say that this reauthorization fulfills Congress’s responsibility to protect all Americans by reaffirming protections for every woman, as well as including vital improvements to address gaps in current law that have been identified by victims, survivors and advocates.
This bipartisan bill: Improves the services available for victims and survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking; Expands the housing protections and financial assistance available for victims and survivors; Improves protections for Native women, including by reaffirming tribal criminal jurisdiction over non-Indian perpetrators of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking; Expands firearms laws to prohibit persons convicted of dating violence, misdemeanor stalking, or subject to protective orders from possessing firearms; and, Invests in tools and resources for law enforcement and evidence-based prevention programs that make our communities safer.
Rep. Terri Sewell is serving her fifth term representing Alabama’s 7th Congressional district.