Washington, D.C. – Today, the Family Violence Prevention and Services Improvement Act (FVPSA), led by Rep. Lucy McBath (D-GA-06), passed the House of Representatives. The bipartisan bill reauthorizes and expands funding for programs focused on protecting survivors and preventing family and domestic violence. It is the only federal funding source under the Department of Health and Human Services dedicated to providing domestic violence prevention services.
McBath spoke on the House floor in support of her bill, originally cosponsored by Representatives Gwen Moore (D-WI-04), Don Young (R-AK-At Large), and John Katko (R-NY-24). It passed with bipartisan support.
“The anguish of far too many survivors of domestic violence during this pandemic has been a painful and unshakeable reminder of our fundamental need to put an end to it,” said McBath. “I am proud we were able to pass legislation that funds shelters, state domestic violence coalitions, a national domestic violence hotline, and national resource centers— this bill helps provide survivors a way up, a way out, and a way forward.”
The Family Violence Prevention and Services Improvement Act, H.R. 2119, expands resources for survivors and initiatives to end domestic violence by:
- Increasing the funding authorization level to $270 million to respond to very low per-program funding levels and provide access to FVPSA funds for programs not currently funded.
- Expanding support for and access to culturally-specific programs.
- Culturally-specific organizations are better equipped to address the complex, multi-layered challenges facing victims from racial and ethnic minority populations as they seek services and protections from abuse.
- Culturally-specific programs often have challenges accessing FVPSA funding at the state and local levels due to the limited funding available and robust competition. This bill authorizes a new culturally-specific program to address these needs and incorporates related funding into the formula itself.
- Strengthening the capacity of Indian Tribes to exercise their sovereign authority to more fully respond to domestic violence in their communities and authorizes funding for tribal coalitions and the Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center.
- Meaningfully investing in prevention. Brings evidence-informed, community-based prevention initiatives to more communities.
- Strengthening and updating the National Domestic Violence Hotline and hotline services for underrepresented populations, including American Indians, Alaskan Natives and Deaf victims of domestic and dating violence.
- Creating a new underserved populations grant program.
- The lack of resources and severity of violence is often heightened for survivors living at the margins, such as those living in rural communities, individuals with disabilities, older adults, those identifying with faith-based communities, youth and others. These underserved populations are often reluctant to seek assistance, and when they do, they frequently look for services and support in their immediate communities. This bill creates a grant program for family centers, youth centers, senior centers, community-based organizations or vocational organizations to meet the needs of these survivors.
- Continuing to support national technical assistance (TA) centers, including the Alaskan Native Tribal Resource Center on Domestic Violence, and their work to develop effective policy, practice, research and cross-system collaborations.
- Updating provisions and definitions to ensure access to services for all survivors, better align with related programs and reflect evolving practices in order to provide uniform guidance to those working to end domestic violence.
- Updates language to reflect current practices and provide a reference to other statutes to ensure common understanding across different federal programs.