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Violence Against Women Act to Offer Support to LGBTQ Survivors

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The House of Representatives passed an amendment this week that would create the first grant program dedicated to providing support to LGBTQ+ survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

What We Know:

  • The new amendment passed this Wednesday is a reauthorization of the 1994 landmark law known as the Violence Against Women Act. The reauthorization comes at a crucial time for the rising number of domestic violence victims as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • House representatives Ayanna Pressley and Marie Newman, who introduced the bill, spoke about the critical revisions made to protect Transgender women and women of color. Newman said the violence against “particularly Black and Brown transgender women, has become a national epidemic.”

Ayanna Pressley told NBC News, “Until now, Congress’s efforts have overlooked the hurt and harm felt by LGBTQ+ survivors, especially trans women of color. I’m proud that this year’s Violence Against Women Act included my provision to create grants and services dedicated to serving members of the LGBTQ+ community.”

  • Although LGBTQ+ survivors were included in the 2013 reauthorization of The Violence Against Women Act, this new amendment is the first time a grant program is being created specifically to meet the needs of the LGBTQ+ community. The program will include prevention education, LGBTQ+ training for victim service organizations, and other community outreach programs.
  • According to a report from the CDC’s 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, approximately 1 in 5 bisexual women and 1 in 10 heterosexual women reported being raped by intimate partners. On top of that, a 2015 Transgender study found about half of trans people and 53 percent of Black trans people reported experiencing intimate partner violence.

Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, deputy executive director for the National Center for Transgender Equality, said, “Grant funding ensures that local trans communities are given access to protection from the constant violence we experience every day and give us opportunities to live better and more meaningful lives.”

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