This bill would reauthorize through fiscal year 2024 the Violence Against Women Act’s (VAWA) grant programs, which aim to protect women from domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. The VAWA’s most recent authorization lapsed in December 2018. A breakdown of what this bill reauthorizes and reforms can be found below.
Some of the VAWA’s noteworthy grant programs include:
Training programs for law enforcement officers to improve their understanding of sexual assault as a crime, their ability to interview victims, and the quality of police investigations.
Training programs for district attorneys to help improve their ability to prosecute rape.
Training for judges to improve the environment for victims when cases go to trial.
Programs encouraging the reporting of sexual assault to police.
Funding for victim services and prevention programs at local sexual assault service providers.
Funding for sexual assault prevention programs on college campuses.
Funding for victim services in underserved areas.
Efforts to eliminate the backlog of untested DNA evidence from unsolved rape cases in accordance with the Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Reporting (SAFER) Act.
Among the reforms to VAWA programs that this bill would make include:
A requirement that relevant law enforcement agencies be notified when a prohibited purchaser previously convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence or stalking obtains or attempts to obtain a firearm.
It would be illegal for individuals subject to a temporary protective order to own a firearm (current law only bars gun ownership for permanent protective orders).
Requiring states to discourage the use of bench warrants as a means of compelling victim-witness testimony during the investigation, prosecution, trial, or sentencing of a VAWA-related crime or lose VAWA grant funding.
Requiring the Bureau of Prisons to develop rules under which a transgender prisoner’s sex is determined according to the sex with which they identify, and to give serious consideration to a transgender or intersex prisoner’s views about their safety given an assignment to a facility with male or female prisoners.