Domestic violence organizations applaud Congress for taking action

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) applauds Congress for taking an important step toward meeting the needs of victims and survivors impacted by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Last night, the Senate passed S.3548, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), the bipartisan compromise phase three COVID-19 stimulus package. The House is expected to pass it as soon as tomorrow. The CARES Act provides important supports for vulnerable people, including victims and survivors. However, it fails to fully meet the needs of survivors as outlined in this letter from the field, nor does it live up to the standard set by the House’s H.R.6379, the Take Responsibility for Families and Workers Act.

Says Ruth M. Glenn, NCADV’s President and CEO, “The CARES Act is an important first step toward addressing victims and survivors, and we appreciate Congress’s attention to the needs of victims and survivors of domestic violence. However, it is only the first step. We look forward to continuing to work with Congress on their phase four stimulus bill to ensure it more comprehensively meets the needs of victims and survivors that are both created and compounded by the COVID-19 crisis.”

Among other provisions, S.3548:

  • Provides an extra $45 million for the Family Violence Prevention and Services (FVPSA) and waives match requirements
  • Increases funding for the National Domestic Violence Hotline
  • Prohibits eviction of people from federally-subsidized housing
  • Provides direct payments of $1,200 per adult and $600 per child to households meeting certain income requirements
  • Allows nonprofits such as domestic violence shelters to access low-interest Small Business Administration loans
  • Expands unemployment benefits for people impacted by COVID-19
  • Increases funding for the Legal Services Corporation

However, unlike H.R.6379, S.3548 does NOT:

  • Increase FVPSA by $100 million dollars
  • Increase the following VAWA programs
    • Sexual Assault Services Program by $100 million dollars
    • STOP grants by $100 million dollars
    • Transitional housing by $25 million
    • Legal Assistance to Victims by $25 million
    • Rural programs by $25 million
    • Grants to Support Families in the Justice System by $25 million
  • Protect immigrant survivors by
    • Ensuring all immigrants have access to COVID-19 testing and treatment covered by Medicaid
    • Including non-citizen taxpayers in the stimulus direct payments
    • Temporarily extend immigration status or work authorization for people whose statuses have or will expire soon

Neither S.3548 nor H.R.6379:

  • Provide funding for Culturally Specific and Outreach to Underserved grant programs, grants to support survivors with disabilities, and grants to support survivors of abuse in later life
  • Waive VAWA or VOCA match requirements
  • Address the ongoing needs of survivors by ensuring the sustainability of the Crime Victims Fund
  • Provide access to safe paid leave for survivors

You raised your voices in support of victims, survivors, and advocates, and Congress heard you, specifically addressing some of the needs of survivors. As Congress begins to negotiate the expected phase four stimulus package, we will be asking you, again, to contact your Members of Congress to ensure that they recognize and address the unique needs of victims and survivors.


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