The Family Violence Prevention and Services Act S.3817 (FVPSA), a vital source of funding for programs that aid survivors of domestic abuse, has been reauthorized by the Senate as part of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA). Now the House MUST pass FVPSA to ensure that violence survivors continue to receive this critical assistance. Contact your representative NOW, and urge support for this vital piece of legislation -- this is a must-pass before the end of the lame-duck session. Use our message or write one of your own.
The Family Violence Prevention and Services Act is a federal grant program that funds domestic violence shelters and support services, such as counseling, crisis hotlines, basic needs and legal advocacy, for survivors of domestic abuse. Unless the House reauthorizes funding for FVPSA, countless shelters in the U.S. and millions of women and children could be left without life-saving services. During hard economic times, support of these shelters and services is more important than ever.
FVPSA, which expired in 2008, was first passed in 1984 as part of the Child Abuse Amendment. It was included in the Violence Against Women Act in 1994 and approved again in 2003 as part of the Keeping Children and Families Safe Act. If reauthorized, FVPSA will approve $250 million per year to shelters and other outreach organizations that aid survivors of domestic violence. It will also include new programs to help prevent children in abusive homes from continuing the cycle of violence in adulthood and fund intervention, employment training for survivors of domestic violence, school-based prevention projects and parenting skills development. It will also update the National Domestic Violence Hotline to keep up with changing technology.
For decades, NOW has worked to prevent and reduce domestic violence in the U.S., describing it as an "epidemic" that primarily harms women and teenage girls. Millions of women are physically, emotionally and economically abused by someone they know, love or trust. Every year, more than 1,000 women die from physical abuse inflicted by an intimate partner.
Children also are seriously affected by domestic violence. About three to four million children witness domestic violence in their homes, which causes severe emotional trauma and makes them twice as likely to become abusers when they reach adulthood. Children who live in homes in which their mothers are abused are also more likely to experience abuse.
With domestic violence affecting so many women and children, we hope that you will contact your House member right away to urge that the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act is reauthorized before the end of the 111th Congress -- not many days away.