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Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence

Representing the 14th District of Michigan

U.S. Rep. Lawrence’s Amendments Included in Final House Passage of VAWA Reauthorization

March 17, 2021
Press Release
Rep. Lawrence presided over the House floor for this vote

Washington, DC - Today, U.S. Representative Brenda L. Lawrence (MI-14) voted in favor of H.R. 1620—Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2021. Like previous reauthorizations, H.R. 1620 makes some vital improvements to address gaps in current law, based on extensive consultation with victim service providers, law enforcement, and other  experts. The bill also includes two amendments by Rep. Lawrence, including stopping punishing children who have been sex trafficked and ensuring survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, who have contact with the criminal justice system, receive the support and services they need.

“It’s completely unacceptable that we’ve allowed the Violence Against Women Act to expire. Countless survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault depend on the resources and services provided by this landmark legislation. Today, I’m proud that the House voted to not only pass this bill but to also include my amendments to support our most vulnerable communities,” said Rep. Lawrence. “This pandemic has illustrated the urgency of which we need to reauthorize VAWA as many women have been forced to quarantine in unsafe domestic situations. The Senate needs to act swiftly. Ending domestic violence and sexual assault isn’t a Democratic or Republican issue, it’s a safety and justice issue.”

The two amendments offered by Rep. Lawrence that were included in the bill would:

  • Authorize grants to also be used to better identify and respond to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking against individuals who have been arrested or have contact with the juvenile or adult criminal justice system, and for strengthening diversion programs and ensure they receive comprehensive victim services. Black women in particular experience the double trauma of violence and the criminal justice system and this amendment would permit grants to be used to ensure individuals who have contact with the criminal justice system receive the services they need and that they are considered for nonpunitive diversion programs.
  • Provide incentives to help ensure states take action to stop punishing children who have been sex trafficked by ending prosecution of minors for prostitution.