VOICES Public Policy Update Spring 2022

Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization of 2022 signed by President Biden

On March 9th, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Fiscal Year 2022 omnibus appropriations bill, which included the passage of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Reauthorization of 2022, S. 3623. Following the House, the U.S. Senate passed the same bill on March 10th. On March 15th, President Biden signed into law the VAWA Reauthorization of 2022. VAWA expired back in 2018, and many advocacy organizations and policymakers have been working diligently to finalize and pass this urgent and overdue piece of legislation. NCEDSV applauds this monumental reauthorization and recognizes all the hard work and advocacy necessary to get us here.

Some of the new enhancements in the VAWA Reauthorization include:

  • Increasing investments in legal assistance for victims
  • Providing resources for culturally specific programs
  • Providing tools to better ensure adjudicated abusers who are prohibited from possessing firearms relinquish those firearms and do not obtain new ones
  • Restoring tribal jurisdictions, to ensure that non-Native perpetrators are held accountable
  • Creating pathways to healing through restorative justice
  • Increasing resources for prevention
  • Maintaining vital non-discrimination protections
  • Improves the implementation of existing housing protection and increases access to emergency to short-term housing

You can read more about VAWA reauthorization here.

Fairness for Rape Kit Backlog Survivors Act of 2021

Also included in the robust omnibus bill recently signed by President Biden was the Fairness for Rape Kit Backlog Survivors of 2021, which Nevada’s own Senator Catherine Cortez Masto championed. All states operate a Victims of Crime compensation program to provide crime victims funding for out-of-pocket expenses such as mental health counseling, medical costs, or lost wages. Many states have time limits for when victim-survivors must submit applications for reimbursement. Victim-survivors of sexual assault may miss this deadline due to their state’s rape kit backlog. The Fairness for Rape Kit Survivors Act requires state victim compensation programs to provide a waiver for compensation after the deadline if the delay results from a backlog in testing or matching DNA evidence from a forensic exam following a sexual assault.

You can read more about this bill here.

Fiscal Year 2022 Federal Appropriations

On March 10th, the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate finalized federal appropriation levels for Fiscal Year (FY) 2022. The finalized appropriations include moderate increases for most domestic and sexual violence programs. You can view finalized appropriations numbers here.

National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) Domestic Violence Counts – Annual Census

Every year, the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) conducts a national census of as many domestic violence service providers as possible to capture the services provided to victim-survivors during a single 24-hour period. On September 9th, 2021, 15 out of the 17 domestic violence programs in Nevada participated in the census. During the 24-hour survey period, the participating programs served 369 victim-survivors and answered 304 hotline calls. Sadly, though, during that time period, 59 victim-survivor’s requests for services were unmet, 81% of which were for housing and emergency shelter. These numbers help highlight the need for increased funding for direct service providers in our state.

You can read the full Nevada summary here.