Murkowski Legislation to Support Survivors of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Advances in Senate
Today the Senate HELP Committee advanced the Family Violence Prevention and Services Improvement Act (FVPSA), legislation U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) cosponsored with her colleague, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), which makes improvements for domestic violence shelters and sexual assault programs in Alaska and throughout the nation. The bill enhances and expands support, protection, and prevention for Americans affected by family violence, domestic violence, and dating violence. The bill package also includes a provision from Senator Murkowski’s legislation, Bree’s Law, which addresses teen dating violence through education initiatives aimed at empowering youth, parents, and advocates to recognize, prevent, and mitigate teen dating violence.
“Supporting survivors of violence should never be a partisan issue. I’m thankful my colleagues on the HELP Committee recognized that and advanced our Family Violence Prevention and Services Improvement Act today. The reality is far too many who fall victim to violence from a family member or partner find themselves in a cycle of abuse—because without receiving some level of support—they are trapped. Over the past few months, I’ve met with many victims, survivors of violence, and the organizations that support them, and it is clear this problem is getting worse. We have a responsibility to be involved—to help those who are most vulnerable,” said Senator Murkowski. “Through this bill, survivors receive critical services such as emergency shelter, crisis counseling, safety planning, as well as assistance recovering from financial abuse and housing insecurity. And through a grant program focused on education to teach teens how to recognize and avoid the dangers of an abusive relationship, my hope is that we can raise awareness to eliminate dating violence.”
- Updates the term “family violence” to better reflect violence today and describe those who are eligible for FVPSA supported services. Retains current law Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) aligned definitions of domestic violence, dating violence, and dating partner.
- Acknowledges the increasing use of new technologies (e.g., text, chat) in the delivery of victim services.
- Authorizes funding for tribal domestic violence coalitions.
- Authorizes the Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center into federal law.
- Authorizes the National Indian Domestic Violence Hotline (currently known as the StrongHearts Native Helpline).
- Increases authorization for the formula grant to $270 million, with an increase in tribal grant funding through a reservation of funds.
- Adds a new Technical Assistance center to support survivors with disabilities.
- Creates new grant programs focused on serving underserved populations and providing culturally-specific services.
- Includes a provision from Senator Murkowski’s legislation, Bree’s Law, to address teen dating violence through education initiatives aimed at empowering youth, parents, and advocates to recognize, prevent, and mitigate teen dating violence.