The House of Representatives voted Friday to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, or VAWA. The bill helps survivors of domestic abuse rebuild their lives and expands educational programs about violent relationships.

Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick co-sponsored the legislation. He worked with 33 Republican lawmakers to help pass VAWA in a bipartisan fashion.

VAWA programs have provided educational tools and helped survivors and their families get the resources they need to begin the healing process,” said Fitzpatrick. “This is not a partisan issue which is why I put a special emphasis on working to build bipartisan support for this critical legislation. I’m also happy to see my Combat Online Predators Act included in this legislation which will increase penalties for predators who cyberstalk children.”

This reauthorization strengthens the legislation, and includes several new mandates.

  • Provides services, protection, and justice for young victims of violence by addressing bullying of children, improving grants focused on prevention education, and expanding training in school-based and campus health centers.
  • Reauthorizes and updates the use of STOP Grants which are awarded to states to assist law enforcement combat violent crimes against women and children. The funds are distributed between law enforcement, prosecutors, victim services, and state and local courts.
  • Updates the SMART Prevention Program to reduce dating violence and engage men in preventing violence.
  • Preserves and expands housing protections for survivors.
  • Prohibits those convicted of domestic violence and stalking from possessing firearms.