WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark (MA-5) applauded the House passage of the Family Violence Prevention and Services Improvement Act (FVPSA), legislation to support survivors through federal grants and expanded services. The FVPSA would reauthorize $270 million in federal grants and provide new services, supports and protections to survivors of dating violence, stalking, harassment, and psychological, economic and online abuse.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has tragically been met with an epidemic of domestic violence across the United States,” said Assistant Speaker Clark. “The Family Violence Prevention and Services Improvement Act will ensure that states and tribes have the funding necessary to protect survivors and prevent future family and domestic violence by expanding federal resources to match where and why abuse occurs — where it’s in person or online. Keeping Americans safe is the primary role of Congress and passing this legislation is a crucial step toward accomplishing that goal.”
“The funding we receive through the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act is vital to our ability to provide domestic violence survivors with the services that keep them safe,” said Patricia Hohl, Director of Voices Against Violence in Framingham, MA. “Our FVPSA funding allows us to deepen our work with immigrant communities, where victims face unique challenges when dealing with violence in the home. We are deeply grateful to Congresswoman Clark for her support of H.R. 2119, the Family Violence Prevention and Services Improvement Act of 2021, which moves these services forward in important ways.”
Clark has spent her career in Congress fighting to combat intimate partner violence and online harassment and abuse. She successfully established a grant program to train state and local law enforcement to prevent, enforce, and prosecute crimes carried out online. It also would create a national resource center to study online crimes and require the FBI to update the Uniform Crime Reports and the National Incident-Based Reporting System to include cybercrimes.
The Family Violence Prevention and Services Improvement Act expands resources for survivors and initiatives to end domestic violence by:
- Increases the funding authorization level to $253 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.
o 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.
o These 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 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 authorize 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.
o 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.
o Updates language to reflect current practices and provide a reference to other statutes to ensure common understanding across different federal programs.
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