Our partners at the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence shared this helpful FAQ on Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and the Shutdown:
With VAWA technically expiring at the same time as the government shutdown, we have noticed that there is some confusion and misinformation about the impact of these two events. Please see below for clarification.
Does VAWA funding run out in a shutdown?
Technically no, but problems may arise with accessing funds if the shutdown lasts. The Administration is on a reduced staff during a shutdown. The Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) will stay open until further notice. If the shutdown extends beyond that time, it will be challenging for organizations dependent on VAWA funds to access those funds. This could mean that victims cannot access lifesaving services if the shutdown continues for any length of time.
VAWA expired when the Continuing Resolution expired. What does that mean for the protections and programs in the law?
We have worked for two years with Congress to urge passage of a Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act that would provide critical enhancements and improvements to the law. The law technically expired on December 21st. The protections enshrined in VAWA, however, continue to exist despite its expiration.
The funding will very likely continue, once an FY 2019 funding bill is complete. VAWA funds would have been safe in a continuing resolution like the Senate passed.
The government shutdown, not the lapse in authorization, is the most significant threat to continued VAWA funds.
What should Congress do?
The most urgent issue for victim service providers and the survivors they serve is access to continued grant funds. Congress must pass a funding bill (like the Senate passed on December 20th) that extends government funding until February 8, 2019. The President and Congress must end the shutdown to ensure continued access to lifesaving services.
When they return for the 116th Congress, Members of Congress should begin work on a bipartisan Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) to build on current protections and increase access to justice and safety for all survivors.
Can I do anything?
Feel free to weigh in on the shutdown with your Members of Congress and reassure survivors that they will have access to services for now. Contact NAESV if you have any questions.