Washington, DC – The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) lauded the passage by the House of the Family Violence Prevention and Services Improvement Act of 2021 (FVPSA). The legislation passed 228-200 with bipartisan support and now awaits Senate consideration.
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FVPSA is the primary federal grant program dedicated to supporting victims of sexual and domestic violence. The bill is especially significant for tribal communities, which experience domestic and sexual violence at some of the highest rates nationwide. More than four in five Native women have experienced intimate partner violence, sexual violence, or stalking in their lifetimes.
The bill, first passed in 1984, has not been reauthorized since 2010, and funding ended in 2015.
“House lawmakers showed what we know to be true—violence prevention is not a partisan issue. Tribal nations need adequate resources, and this overdue bill is a major step toward providing them with the support they need,” said FCNL General Secretary Diane Randall. “Now, it is time for the Senate to fulfill its responsibility and pass its own reauthorization of FVPSA to assist tribes in safeguarding Indigenous women and children.”
The House’s reauthorization (H.R. 2119) was first introduced by Reps. Lucy McBath (GA-06), Gwen Moore (WI-04), John Katko (NY-24), and Don Young (AK-AL). The bill would increase tribal funding for domestic violence prevention efforts, dedicate authorized funding for both an Alaska Native Tribal Resource Center on Domestic Violence and a Native Hawaiian Resource Center on Domestic Violence, and codify permanent funding for a National Indian Domestic Violence Hotline.
“The disparity in tribal access to violence prevention resources is staggering—there are 574 federally-recognized tribes, but fewer than 60 tribal shelters and less than 300 tribal domestic violence programs. This is a key piece of legislation to address violence against Indigenous women,” said Portia K. Skenandore-Wheelock, FCNL’s Native American advocacy program congressional advocate. “This vote shows lawmakers are listening to tribal advocates and support culturally-appropriate and desperately needed life-saving resources.”
To learn more, please visit www.fcnl.org.