Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

Passed in 1994 and then reauthorized in 2000, 2005, and 2013, VAWA is landmark legislation that has improved criminal justice and community-based responses to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking in the United States. VAWA programs target domestic violence, strengthen services for victims and their dependents, and hold offenders accountable. Still, the statistics remain alarming: nearly one in four women experiences one physical assault by a partner during adulthood. It is absolutely critical that Congress renew and expand the protections and programs that are so necessary to ending domestic violence.

On February 28, 2013, Rep. Eshoo voted for S. 47, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013. This bill passed the House by a vote of 286 to 138, and was subsequently signed into law by President Obama on March 7, 2013.

During the 112th Congress, the House considered H.R. 4970—a highly partisan VAWA reauthorization package that would have eliminated confidentiality protections for immigrant victims of domestic violence; imposed broad and imprecise mandatory minimum sentences; and undermined the Tribal Law and Order Act. H.R. 4970 was strongly opposed by the National Association of Federal Defenders, the Human Rights Campaign, and other groups. Rep. Eshoo voted against this legislation on May 16th, 2012. Despite her vote, it passed the House by a vote of 222-205.

In the past, Rep. Eshoo also cosponsored H.R. 5331, the Violence Against Immigrant Women Act. Among its provisions, this legislation improves access to existing protections for victims of human trafficking and abuse, enhances confidentiality protections for victims who come forward, and establishes ongoing training for Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of Justice (DOJ), and State Department personnel who come into contact with immigrant domestic violence victims to ensure they know the full range of immigration relief petitions available to victims.