The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) commends the 117th Congress and the Biden Administration for their leadership in pursuing survivor-centric action at the federal level of government. Three recent news items signaled a shift in prioritizing survivors of gender-based violence.
On January 19th, then President-elect Biden announced the formation of a White House Gender Policy Council with the intention of “advancing the country towards gender equality.” One of the focuses of the Council will be prevention and response to gender-based violence, including domestic violence. President Biden formally established the White House Gender Policy Council on March 8th to coincide with International Women’s Day.
Meanwhile, in the halls of Congress, legislators have taken action on a number of issues to support survivors and victims of domestic violence, starting with providing supplemental funding.The American Rescue Package (ARP) includes additional funding specifically for programs and shelters to address the increase in frequency and severity of domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic, including $180 million for domestic violence programs through the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act.
The House also introduced H.R.1620, the bipartisan Violence Against Women Act of 2021, which also occurred on March 8th. The Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, or VAWA, was stalled in the previous Congress after the Senate took no meaningful action on the House-passed H.R.1585 of 2019.
Taken together, these actions represent a shift towards recognizing the critical role gender-based violence has played within the pandemic as well as prioritizing the safety and well-being of victims, survivors, and the advocates who serve them. “When we talk about looking for and working toward solid survivor-centric leadership from the federal government, this is what we are looking for,” said Ruth M. Glenn, NCADV President/CEO. “We welcome these steps and look forward to more legislation and executive orders that further support and uplift victims and survivors of violence.”