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ICYMI: Ernst’s Landmark Violence Against Women Act Signed Into Law

The Iowa senator is a survivor herself and has championed and worked on reauthorizing VAWA for more than three years.

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), a survivor of domestic violence and sexual assault, had her landmark bill to modernize and reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)  signed into law, an effort she has championed and worked on for more than three years.
Ernst joined her fellow leaders of the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization ActSenators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), at the White House on Wednesday for the signing of the legislation. The bill, now law, reauthorizes VAWA through 2027, preserves advancements made in previous reauthorizations, and includes a number of additional improvements to the current law.


Senator Ernst attended the White House ceremony for the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization Act on Wednesday.


Ernst also spoke on the Senate floor applauding the modernized, reauthorized VAWA.


Click here or on the image above to watch Ernst’s remarks.


What They Are Saying:


Deborah J. Vagins, President and CEO of the National Network to End Domestic Violence:

“The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) and our member state and territorial domestic violence coalitions are deeply grateful to Senators Feinstein, Ernst, Durbin, and Murkowski for their leadership and commitment to domestic and sexual violence survivors by championing the passage of the bipartisan Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act. This VAWA reauthorization provides survivors, the thousands of local programs that serve them, and communities with much-needed resources for housing, legal assistance, alternatives to criminal responses, and prevention programming. The bill also includes critical economic justice and non-discrimination provisions, restores tribal sovereignty to hold non-native abusers accountable, and makes important investments in culturally specific service providers to ensure all survivors are supported. These lifesaving protections will give survivors greater access to safety, justice, and services on their path to healing after abuse.”


Ruth M. Glenn, President/CEO of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence:

“The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is integral to our nation’s response to domestic violence and sexual assault. VAWA funds everything from housing to victim advocates to legal services training to prevention. VAWA is critical to ensuring that when survivors reach out for help, someone is there to help them. The enhancements in this bill seek to increase the responsiveness of systems to survivor needs by providing additional avenues for them to seek safety and justice and investing in prevention. NCADV and the programs and survivors we represent commend Congress, and particularly Senators Feinstein, Ernst, Durbin, and Murkowski, for taking a stand to support victims, survivors and advocates.”


Margaret Mitchell, CEO of YWCA USA:

For over 160 years, YWCAs have been on the ground and see first-hand the importance of maintaining protections for all survivors in the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)," said Margaret Mitchell, CEO, YWCA USA. "As we continue to address the prolonged effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, we continue to see increases in demand for services. The reauthorization of the VAWA will ensure survivor safety by providing the safety, resources, and protections critical to all survivors, particularly women of color and other marginalized communities. We applaud the reauthorization of this long-awaited bipartisan bill and look forward to continue working with Congress to support survivors."


Esta Soler, President and Founder of Futures Without Violence:

“We are proud to stand with Senators Durbin, Ernst, Murkowski and especially our home state Senator, Dianne Feinstein celebrating the passage of the Violence Against Women Act. VAWA is life-saving, and needs to get to President Biden's desk as soon as possible. We were particuarly pleased to see the focus on prevention and new programs that address the needs of children and youth, in particular Bree's Law. No parent should have to bury their child because of dating violence.”


Katie Ray-Jones, CEO of The National Domestic Violence Hotline:

“All survivors should have a variety of options to meet their evolving and complex needs for services and support. We applaud this VAWA re-authorization bill, especially because of the critical enhancements that invest in services, prevention, and accountability. We are deeply thankful to the bill co-sponsors and appreciate their commitment to uplifting the nuanced needs of survivors,” said Katie Ray-Jones, CEO of The Hotline. “Survivors need support more than ever—since 2015, demand for our services has increased 46% and in December we answered our 6 millionth contact since our inception.”


Patti Tototzintle, CEO and President of Esperanza United:

"We need to pass the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) with key enhancements. It hasn't been reauthorized since 2013 and so much has changed since then. As we emerge from the pandemic, Latinas and immigrants are experiencing the continued effects of increased isolation, misinformation, lack of access to health care and workplace protections, and lack of sufficient access to community-based resources and support. All of this increases risks to domestic violence and makes efforts to access safety and well-being so much harder. An improved and reauthorized VAWA will save lives by providing advocates, practitioners, and survivors of domestic and sexual violence with updated and more comprehensive resources and options. As an organization, we applaud the leadership of Senators Feinstein, Ernst, Durbin, Murkowski, and the advocates that work so hard to get the Violence Against Women Act of 2022 signed into law by President Biden."


Monika Johnson Hostler, President of the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence:

“This moment, a day to truly celebrate, is the culmination of the work of so many survivors, advocates, policy leaders, and congressional staff and has been almost 10 years in the making. VAWA is an essential tool in our work to address and end gender-based violence, and we are thrilled our collective work has come to fruition. We’re grateful for the leadership of Senators Feinstein, Ernst, Durbin and Murkowski, and all of the VAWA co-sponsors and supporters who’ve made this day a reality.”


Lucy R. Simpson, Executive Director of the National Indigenous Women's Resource Center:

“The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is an important step forward in addressing jurisdictional gaps that leave Native women and children vulnerable. By strengthening and restoring Tribal jurisdiction and providing necessary resources to Tribal governments through VAWA, Tribes will be better equipped to keep their communities safe and ensure justice for Native women.”


Carol Moody, President & CEO of Legal Momentum, the Women's Legal Defense and Education Fund:

“The passage of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2022 is a crucial, overdue, and positive step towards better protecting all survivors of gender-based violence. Each reauthorization of VAWA provides an opportunity to improve our response and meet the real and current needs of victims and survivors. As one of the earliest advocates for VAWA, we are proud that the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2022 includes critical enhancements and investments to serve the needs of all survivors and impacted communities.”


Meredith Jacobs, CEO of Jewish Women International:

"The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2022 does so much to address the gaps and fill the needs felt by women and girls nationwide. It is by far the most significant reauthorization of VAWA to date and Jewish Women International (JWI) is proud to be part of the coalitions that helped bring it to bear. Ending violence against women must be a national priority. When a woman is not safe, her home, her workplace, her community, is not safe. The ripple effects of the violence and trauma are deeply felt by her children and everyone in its wake. Far too often, we look at mass shootings, homelessness, and incarceration of survivors and find at the center violence against women. For JWI, VAWA is personal — it has been for forty years — since one of our members was shot and killed by her estranged husband. That horrific event drives our mission. We have worked to bring the voice of the Jewish community into the many reauthorization efforts, but this is legislation desperately needed by every person, regardless of faith. As an organization working to ensure the safety of all survivors, we celebrate VAWA’s reauthorization and look forward to the Violence Against Women Act of 2022 being signed into law by President Biden.”


Mónica Ramírez, President and Founder of Justice for Migrant Women:

"Increasing access to safety and support for all survivors is a priority for Justice for Migrant Women, and passing The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2022 is a critical step toward creating a safer space for survivors of sexual assault and sexual harassment. As we imagine and fight for a world free from violence, we support VAWA and continue to advocate for policies that protect immigrant survivors and survivors from historically marginalized communities.”


Sheila Katz, CEO of the National Council of Jewish Women:

"Each VAWA reauthorization is an opportunity to strengthen the law based on our increased understanding of gender-based violence. This time is no different. Informed by survivors and advocates, VAWA would invest in prevention; increase access to services for survivors, including community-specific services and legal services; maintain existing protections for all survivors, including immigrant, LGBTQ, and Native survivors; improve housing access for survivors; expand access to safety and justice for Native survivors; sustain vital non-discrimination provisions; improve access for culturally specific communities; and address the needs of incarcerated women. It is an important step in the right direction for survivors."


Karma Cottman, Executive Director/CEO of Ujima Inc., The National Center on Violence Against Women in the Black Community:

“Ujima Inc. applauds the passage of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2022 and deeply appreciates the dedication of Congress to prioritize the needs of survivors. Women and children of color are disproportionately impacted by domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking. The increased funding for communities of color, particularly for culturally specific organizations, will increase access to services and resources and undoubtedly save lives.”