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Violence Against Women Act Expires Due to Government Shutdown

The partial government shutdown that occurred recently has caused many implications for the United States, one of them being the expiration of the Violence Against Women Act.

The shutdown has resulted in federally funded programs and sites to be axed until Congress ends their debates over the government’s budget. The debate is ultimately dependent on decisions for funding a border wall, which President Trump has been a proponent for since his 2016 presidential campaign.

The Violence Against Women Act, which relies on government funding, was among those to be damaged by the shutdown. This is because the Act was set to expire and relied on the renewed budget to maintain its funding.

The Act has sought to help victims of sexual assault, domestic abuse, and stalking since it was passed in 1994. President Trump did not agree to sign an appropriations bill that would include a short-term extension of the Act, though it had been granted twice earlier this year.

If the spending bill was passed, the Violence Against Women Act would have been extended through February 8. It was due to expire on both September 30 and December 7, however was extended by the government both times when it was included in resolutions to prevent other government shutdowns.

When there is proper funding, the Violence Against Women Act “funds and administers numerous programs assisting survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.”

Services of support for domestic violence victims and law enforcement training have been made possible by the law. For example, the National Domestic Violence Hotline exists because of the Violence Against Women Act.

Grants that have already been awarded because of the law will not be affected, but future monetary requests from programs that require funding from the Violence Against Women Act will not be fulfilled until the law is reauthorized.

The Violence Against Women Act has protected and provided women with crucial resources for the last few decades, and the services it provides are still in dire need. A 2017 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that more than half of women who are murdered have been killed in connection with intimate partner violence.

The current government shutdown is not only taking a toll on federal workers and government agencies; it has also resulted in a major loss for women across the nation. Until the law is reauthorized, many domestic violence survivors will go without the resources they need.

Featured Image by Bruce Dixon on Unsplash

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