U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Naperville, successfully got two provisions passed in the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization of 2019, which passed the House last week.
Underwood co-sponsored the bipartisan, robust, long-term reauthorization of the bill that originally was passed in 1994, according to a news release. Her two provisions would increase access to mental health care and substance abuse treatment for survivors of domestic violence and require the Department of Justice to report to Congress the effects of the recent federal government shutdown on the DOJ's efforts to disperse funding and services to victims of domestic violence.
"The Violence Against Women Act is critical to addressing our nation's crisis, providing support for survivors who have experienced domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking, and curbing an epidemic that affects far too many," Underwood said. "It's up to us to ensure every spouse, parent or child in our community is free to live their life without the threat of domestic violence."
Underwood said about 20 people every minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the U.S. The reauthorization of the VAWA would give funding for five years and make vital improvements to address gaps in current law, based on extensive consultation with victim service providers, law enforcement and other experts, according to Underwood's office. The original VAWA implemented policies calling for the protection of all Americans.