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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

Action Alert: The Violence Against Women Act & the 113th Congress

A woman holds a sign urging Pass VAWA Now!Congressional leaders in the 113th Congress have released their legislative agenda. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) ranked reauthorization of Violence Against Women’s Act (VAWA) number five on his priorities list. House Democratic leaders, including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and others, have ranked VAWA in their top 10 priorities for the 113th as well.

Advocates are working closely with Congressional leaders and the White House to get VAWA passed swiftly. In the first week of the new Congressional Session, bills were introduced in both the Senate and the House. S.47 by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Michael Crapo (R-ID) and H.R. 11, introduced by Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI), both reauthorize VAWA. 

This week, NCIL joined coalition members at a meeting with Lynn Rosenthal, White House Advisor on Violence Against Women, to set the strategy for this work and to reinforce the support of President Obama, Vice President Biden, and the entire Administration for swift passage.

Things are moving swiftly in DC! On Monday, February 4, the Senate held a procedural vote to move VAWA forward for a floor vote. S.47 is bipartisan legislation that would improve VAWA programs and strengthen protections for all victims. It currently has 60 co-sponsors.

NCIL’s Violence and Abuse Taskforce assisted with language in the bill that will assist people with disabilities in the areas of violence prevention, training for law enforcement and first responders, technical assistance for shelters, and services to victims with disabilities.  VAWA provides funding for the National Domestic Violence Hotline, transitional housing, and legal assistance. It also gives grant money to help educate and better prepare law enforcement, advocates, and shelters.

Take Action Today!

The message: Please vote yes on S.47, the VAWA Bill, with no amendments when it comes up for a vote!

  1. Call, write, or email both of your Senators today and tell them to vote yes on S. 47 with no amendments. Remember to identify yourself as a constituent. If your Senators are co-sponsors on the bill, thank them. If they are not, convince them to vote yes for S.47 with no amendments when it comes to the floor for a vote. Ask your family, friends, co-workers, and other community members to call in too! 
  2. Join our “We need VAWA because…” campaign on Facebook and Instagram! Tag your photos on Instragram with #VAWA or submit your photos via email to our partners from The Leadership Conference Education Fund at Make sure to include your city and state and your Senators’ and Representative’s names in your statement so that your legislator knows that their constituency cares about VAWA.
  3. Join us in a Twitter Chat as we prepare for President Obama’s upcoming State of the Union Address. We will be holding a “State of the VAWA” Twitter Chat on Monday, February 11th at 2pm EST to answer questions and engage the public in a dialogue about the importance of an inclusive VAWA. Send your questions to @NTFVAWA using #VAWAchat, and participate in the conversation on February 11th.

For more information on this work, contact Dara Baldwin, Policy Analyst, at

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