U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND) with Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) helped introduce the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2019 (VAWA) today.
“This is an important issue to me and my family, and I am dedicated to promoting policies ensuring a safeguard for victims of domestic abuse,” said Senator Cramer. “This version of the Violence Against Women Act provides funding for programs aimed at preventing domestic violence and supporting victims, and it includes important measures to address these issues in rural areas and on tribal lands. I thank Senator Ernst for her leadership, and I urge my colleagues to join us in supporting it.”
“As a survivor and someone who worked at a victim’s shelter during my time in college, I have a clear understanding of how vital it is for survivors to have resources and support in what can be some of the darkest times of their lives,” said Senator Joni Ernst. “Reauthorizing VAWA shouldn’t be a partisan issue—we should be putting the wellbeing of women and children of sexual and domestic violence first. That’s what this bill does; it’s a practical solution that focuses on survivors, not politics. Our bill will dramatically increase resources for survivors, punish abusers, and provide greater support for our rural communities in Iowa and across the country. I’m optimistic that my colleagues—Republican and Democrat—will join me in getting this vitally important bill signed into law.”
This version of VAWA includes important legislation previously introduced by Senator Cramer and fellow senators, including the CREEPS Act, which gives federal agencies the authority to remove an employee convicted of sexual assault or found to have committed such an offense while employed by the federal government. It also includes Savanna’s Act, which the Senator helped introduce earlier this year.
Senator Cramer has been a consistent supporter of similar Violence Against Women Act legislation since serving in the House of Representatives. Additionally, this bill:
- Recognizes sex trafficking as a form of sexual assault.
- Bolsters housing protections available to victims and improves current funding priorities to ensure transitional housing is a more viable option for family violence victims.
- Provides funding for law enforcement on Indian Lands, as well as flexibility for the Bureau of Indian Affairs to help get more officers into the field.
- Expands tribal criminal jurisdiction for domestic violence while mandating tribal criminal justice systems provide non-Native Americans with all Constitutionally enumerated rights.
- Creates an “innovation fund” for the Office on Violence Against Women to address emerging VAWA-related issues.
- Enhances criminal penalties for sexual abuse of a minor, sexual abuse of a ward, abusive sexual contact with a child under 12 years of age, and interstate domestic violence.
- Makes it illegal for an individual – acting in a law enforcement capacity – from engaging in a sexual act with someone who is under arrest or in detention and incentivizes states to do the same.
Senators Cramer and Ernst were joined in introducing this legislation by Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), John Cornyn (R-TX), Shelley Moore-Capito (R-WV), Marco Rubio (R-TX), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), John Hoeven (R-ND), and David Perdue (R-GA).