Fitzpatrick applauds House passage of Violence Against Women Act reauthorization

The U.S. House of Representatives on March 17 voted to approve sweeping bipartisan legislation cosponsored by U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and 185 of his colleagues to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) of 1994.

“This is not a partisan or controversial issue, which is why I put such a special emphasis on working to build broad bipartisan support for this critical, life-saving legislation,” Rep. Fitzpatrick said on Wednesday. 

The VAWA Reauthorization Act of 2021, H.R. 1620, which Rep. Fitzpatrick introduced on March 8 as an original cosponsor with bill sponsor U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), would authorize funding for numerous grant programs, including victim services, prevention, training, education, enforcement, economic stability, and survivor support services. Authorization of the VAWA expired in 2018. 

“VAWA has been instrumental in improving and enhancing our nation’s response to safeguarding women and children from abuse, anguish and violence,” said Rep. Fitzpatrick. “For years, VAWA programs have produced tangible, life-saving results, saving the lives of millions of women and children and providing educational tools to help survivors and their families rebuild their lives.” 

During the 116th Congress, the House passed a bipartisan reauthorization that the U.S. Senate failed to take up, according to Rep. Fitzpatrick’s office, which noted that H.R. 1620 is a slightly updated version of the previous bill and addresses challenges identified by survivors and domestic violence shelters, rape crisis centers, and other organizations serving survivors.

Additionally, the House-approved H.R. 1620 includes Kayden’s Law, which Rep. Fitzpatrick authored to address child protections against family violence. The measure is included in section 1601 of H.R. 1620, which is known as Keeping Children Safe From Family Violence Act, or Kayden’s Law.  

“Seven-year old Kayden Mancuso of Bucks County was murdered by her father shortly after being awarded partial, unsupervised custody,” Rep. Fitzpatrick explained. “This incident shook our community to its core and has served as a wake-up call for all levels of government that we must do more to protect our children.”

Kayden’s Law aims to strengthen the ability of state courts to recognize and adjudicate domestic violence and child abuse allegations based on valid, admissible evidence so that courts may enter orders that protect and minimize the risk of harm to children, according to the congressman’s office.

A Woman’s Place and the Network of Victim Assistance support H.R. 1620, which the Senate received on March 18 for consideration.

Ripon Advance News Service

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