Saturday, July 29, 2023

Senators Casey and Murkowski Introduce Legislation to Bolster Support for Domestic Violence Survivors

Washington, D.C. – In a bid to combat the alarming rates of domestic violence across the United States, Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) have joined forces to introduce a groundbreaking bill. 

The Family Violence Prevention and Services Improvement Act, unveiled on Friday, aims to expand and fortify support systems for survivors of family violence, domestic violence, and dating violence.

The gravity of the issue was underscored by the stark statistics from Pennsylvania, where more than 1,600 lives were lost to domestic violence-related incidents in the past decade alone. Furthermore, a chilling national report reveals that over 40 percent of women and a quarter of men in America have experienced sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking at the hands of an intimate partner during their lifetimes.

Senator Casey emphasized that family violence and its counterparts are not just private tragedies but a public health crisis plaguing the nation. With a particular focus on underserved communities, including those who are deaf or hard of hearing, people with disabilities, and racial and ethnic minorities, the proposed legislation seeks to bolster prevention efforts and resources.

A key aspect of the bill involves updating the National Domestic Violence Hotline to ensure it better caters to the needs of these vulnerable populations. By expanding crisis counseling, emergency shelters, and support programs, the legislation aims to bridge the gap faced by victims, especially those in remote areas like Alaska, where access to help can be hindered by distance.

Senator Murkowski commended the initiative, stressing the urgent need to increase access to support services for victims and their children. The bill, building upon the foundation laid by the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) signed into law in 1984, will provide crucial funding to domestic violence shelters, programs, and coalitions. Survivors will have access to emergency shelter, crisis counseling, safety planning, and financial recovery assistance, with a focus on addressing housing insecurity caused by abuse.

The education and prevention programs offered by these initiatives will play a vital role in raising awareness and fostering change within communities. The hope is that by enhancing support systems, the cycle of domestic violence can be disrupted and survivors can find the resources and strength they need to rebuild their lives.

As the legislation gains momentum in Congress, Senators Casey and Murkowski remain steadfast in their commitment to protecting and supporting survivors of domestic violence nationwide. The bill's potential impact offers a glimmer of hope for a safer and more secure future for millions of Americans affected by this pervasive crisis.