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The Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) is the primary federal grant program dedicated to supporting victims of sexual and domestic violence and their children.

Reauthorize FVPSA with enhanced tribal provisions

FVPSA includes funding for shelters, emergency response hotlines, training and prevention, as well as children’s services and coalitions. This bill is especially significant for Native American communities, which deal with domestic and sexual violence at unparalleled rates and rely on these essential services.

FVPSA, which was first authorized in 1984, has gone without reauthorization since 2015. Meanwhile, the need for victim services in tribal communities has continued to grow. In July 2019, Sens. Bob Casey (PA) and Lisa Murkowski (AK), introduced the Family Violence Prevention and Services Improvement Act of 2019 (S. 2259), with a companion bill (H.R. 5041), introduced in the House by Reps. Lucy McBath (GA), Gwen Moore (WI), John Katko (NY), and Tom Cole (OK).

In December 2019, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee passed the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) (S. 2971), which included a FVPSA reauthorization. But unlike S. 2259/H.R. 5041, CAPTA does not include the provisions necessary to properly aid victims and survivors.

A FVPSA reauthorization bill must include these four essential tribal provisions (included in S. 2259 and H.R. 5041):

  • Strengthen tribal sovereignty by increasing the tribal set-aside from 10% to 12.5% to allow tribes to better respond to domestic violence.
  • Authorize permanent, separate funding for the currently funded StrongHearts Native Helpline, a domestic and dating violence helpline offering culturally appropriate support for Native Americans and Alaska Natives.
  • Authorize permanent funding for the currently funded Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center, which is dedicated to strengthening tribal governments’ responses to domestic and sexual violence through community organizing efforts in Alaska.
  • Authorize formula funding for the Tribal Domestic Violence Coalitions, which provide tribes and tribal organizations with technical assistance and training on developing responses to domestic violence.
FCNL Contact: Kerri Colfer, kcolfer@fcnl.org

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