After years of delay, Congress approved the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act in mid-March. It was signed into law by President Biden, who was one of the early champions of the groundbreaking legislation when it first passed in 1994 while he was a member of the U.S. Senate.
In the nearly three decades since, the legislation has been renewed and strengthened three times: in 2000, 2005, and 2013. Through the years, Michael Bolton and the Michael Bolton Charities have been consistent advocates, and Michael Bolton has testified before Congress urging reauthorization.
In announcing that latest reauthorization had become law, the White House noted that “while incidents of domestic violence and sexual assault have declined significantly since VAWA first took effect—and efforts to increase access to services, healing, and justice for survivors have improved with each iteration of VAWA—much work remains.”
The 2022 reauthorization of VAWA strengthens the landmark law, including by:
- Reauthorizing all current VAWA grant programs until 2027 and, in many cases, increasing authorization levels;
- Increasing services and support for survivors from underserved and marginalized communities—including for LGBTQ+ survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking;
- Funding survivor-centered, community-based restorative practice services; and increasing support for culturally specific services and services in rural communities;
- Establishing a federal civil cause of action for individuals whose intimate visual images are disclosed without their consent, allowing a victim to recover damages and legal fees;
- Creating a new National Resource Center on Cybercrimes Against Individuals; and supporting government efforts to prevent and prosecute cybercrimes, including cyberstalking and the nonconsensual distribution of intimate images;
- Improving prevention and response to sexual violence, including through increased support for the Rape Prevention and Education Program and Sexual Assault Services Program; and expansion of prevention education for students in institutions of higher education;
- Strengthening the application of evidence-based practices by law enforcement in responding to gender-based violence, including by promoting the use of trauma-informed, victim-centered training and improving homicide reduction initiatives;
- Improving the healthcare system’s response to domestic violence and sexual assault, including through enhanced training for sexual assault forensic examiners;
- Updating the SMART Prevention Program and the CHOOSE Youth Program to reduce dating violence, help children who have been exposed to domestic violence, and engage men in preventing violence;
- Enacting the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) Denial Notification Act to help state law enforcement investigate and prosecute cases against individuals legally prohibited from purchasing firearms who try to do so.