On Nov. 13th the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2019 (S. 2843) was introduced in the Senate.
S. 2843, sponsored by Sen. Diane Feinstein and co-sponsored by Maine Senator Angus King, is the VAWA that Maine survivors need. This bill:
- explicitly clarifies the right of Maine tribes to hold non-native offenders accountable for domestic violence and sexual assault committed on their land;
- includes stronger mechanisms designed to help prevent DV homicide, which continues to represent 40-50% of Maine’s homicides each year;
- strengthens housing protections for survivors in a time when finding and maintaining safe and affordable housing remains a primary challenge for Maine survivors; and
- maintains strong anti-discrimination provisions for LGBTQ+ survivors, who frequently face additional barriers to accessing support that leave them particularly vulnerable to harm and exploitation from abusive people.
In the time since S. 2843’s introduction, an alternate version of the bill has been introduced in the Senate. “Every version of the Violence Against Women Act has improved on the previous one, responding to changing needs and adding protections for people who are at disproportionate risk from abusers,” says MCEDV Executive Director Francine Garland Stark. “It is critical that in 2019, we build on that progress, and not roll back any components, as the VAWA bill introduced by Sen. Ernst would do.”
The provisions proposed in S. 2843 best reflect the needs of the survivors we serve throughout Maine, and we join our national partners in calling for bipartisan passage of the bill soon as possible.