The Interfaith Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence (IC), convened by Jewish Women International and comprised of nearly 40 national faith organizations representing thousands of people of Jewish, Muslim, Christian, and Baha’i faiths, applauds Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Richard Durbin (D-IL), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) for introducing the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2022.
As people of faith, we affirm the right of every person to live free from intimate partner violence. We believe this bipartisan consensus bill goes a long way in responding to the critical needs of victims and survivors.
The House of Representatives passed their version of this bill, led by Representatives Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX-18) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-01) in March of 2021. The Senate bill builds upon the House companion bill H.R. 1620 and maintains existing protections, as well as expands VAWA to address persistent gaps in the current law.
Despite being narrower, this survivor-centered bill is ground-breaking in many ways. It includes many historic victories that will prevent violence and increase access to services, safety, and justice. The legislation creates community pathways to justice; reaffirms tribal jurisdiction so tribes can hold non-native offenders of sexual assault, child abuse, and trafficking accountable; enhances implementation and enforcement of VAWA’s existing housing provisions and expands access to temporary and emergency housing; increases access for culturally specific communities; increases resources for prevention; provides tools to ensure adjudicated abusers who are prohibited from possessing firearms do not obtain new ones; maintains vital non-discrimination protections and includes a new LGBTQ+ grant program; and continues to invest in lifesaving services.
The IC encourages the Senate to swiftly pass the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2022 and send it to the House for a vote.
Gender-based violence has no place in our faith traditions.