In an attempt to keep communities safe in Montana and throughout the country, Senator Jon Tester is supporting the reauthorization of the "Violence against Women Act" (VAWA) in Congress. The bill was first authorized in 1994, but expired in 2019.

Tester is promoting the "VAWA Reauthorization Act of 2021," which would enable the resources until 2027. The bill already passed the House of Representatives a year ago. Tester is supporting the act in the Senate. The main goal of the act is to protect victims and help survivors of violence, including rural areas and reservations.

Some of the main points of the Act:

  • Fund programs and modernize efforts to prevent and respond to violence, including health care, housing and legal services for survivors.
  • Improve programs to include survivors in rural areas, older survivors, disabled survivors and LGBTQ survivors.
  • Additional victim-centered and trauma-informed care.
  • Improve law enforcement response to domestic violence, holding perpetrators responsible and providing help for victims of domestic violence.
  • In Indian Country, restoring the Tribes' ability to hold non-Native perpetrators accountable in cases of sexual assault, child abuse, stalking and sex trafficking. Also, improve communication between tribal and federal law enforcement.
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    Tester said in a news release, "This legislation provides critical resources to domestic violence shelters and Tribal justice initiatives across Montana, and failing to reauthorize those resources jeopardizes the safety and wellbeing of folks across the Treasure State."

    Tester also supported the "VOCA Fix to Sustain the Crime Victims Fund Act" last year. It allows funding from settlement agreements to be used for funding for survivors and service providers.

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