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Federal Legislation


PCAR promotes public policies that provide protections and services to victims of sexual violence, hold offenders accountable and enhance community safety at the state and federal levels.

PCAR staff participates in the National Task Force to End Domestic and Sexual Violence, which works specifically on the Violence Against Women Act, and works closely with the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence (NAESV) to set and respond to federal policy initiatives, inform national conversations and pass along federal priorities to community rape crisis centers in Pennsylvania.

Federal legislation we're watching:

Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act

On April 4th, the House of Representatives passed H.R.1585, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2019 (VAWA), with strong bipartisan support. Senate Judiciary Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein introduced S. 2843 as the companion to H.R. 1585. The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2019 reauthorizes VAWA grant programs and makes vital enhancements to existing law.

The reauthorization act would:

  • Invests in prevention;
  • Ends impunity for non-Native perpetrators of sexual assault, child abuse co-occurring with domestic violence, stalking, sex trafficking, and assaults on tribal law enforcement officers on tribal lands;
  • Improves enforcement of court orders that require adjudicated domestic abusers to relinquish their firearms;
  • Improves access to housing for victims and survivors;
  • Protects victims of dating violence from firearm homicide;
  • Helps survivors gain and maintain economic independence;
  • Updates the federal definition of domestic violence for the purposes of VAWA grants only to acknowledge the full range of abuse victims suffer (does not impact the criminal definition of domestic violence); 
  • Maintains existing protections for all survivors; and
  • Improves the healthcare system’s response to domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking.

It is time for the Senate to take action to maintain important protections for vulnerable survivors while making critical enhancements to prevent and respond to domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking.

Federal budget

PCAR supports full funding of the Sexual Assault Services Program and Rape Prevention and Education Program. These programs support sexual violence prevention and response efforts throughout the state and nation. We join our national partners in supporting the Congress in funding the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) cap at 2.6 billion. We also support designating VOCA funds for tribal services, but oppose other earmarks and transfers from the fund.