Faith Groups Call on Senators to Protect ALL Victims of Domestic Violence Left Out Of Flawed House Bill

To: Members of the United States Senate

We write to thank you for your vote to support S. 1925, the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). We represent faith-based and humanist organizations in the United States that are concerned for the safety and well-being of vulnerable people.

As you may know, the VAWA reauthorization act passed by the House of Representatives, H.R. 4970, lacked several improvements that were included in the Senate bill. .

The Senate legislation reflects the normal practice of Congress to update the parameters of federal programs to ensure that they meet the needs for which they were designed. The Senate bill therefore includes

  • provisions that build on the foundation established by the Tribal Law and Order Act to enable tribal law enforcement authorities to arrest and try a limited group of perpetrators of domestic violence in Indian country, including non-tribal members and non-Indians;
  • provisions to clarify that programs for victims of domestic violence are not limited by sexual orientation – violence is violence; and
  • provisions to allow non-citizen victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse, and trafficking to apply for a U-visa so that their legal presence in the U.S. is not dependent on an abusing partner.

Without these provisions, as a practical matter, the laws that are intended to reach victims of domestic violence will only reach some exness victims. For different reasons, immigrant women, Native women, and gay and lesbian victims of domestic violence cannot rely on these laws and programs.

We urge you to continue to support – and to seek in the conference process — a comprehensive reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, one that reaches all victims, especially those in these most vulnerable groups.


The Advocacy Committee for Women’s Concerns of the PCUSA
African American Ministers In Action
American Humanist Association
Center of Concern
Church Women United
Disciples Justice Action Network
Disciples Women, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
The Episcopal Church
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Family and Children’s Ministries, Disciples Home Missions, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Franciscan Action Network
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Islamic Relief USA
Islamic Social Services Association – USA
Jewish Council for Public Affairs
Jewish Women International
Leadership Conference of Women Religious
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office
National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
National Council of Jewish Women
The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA
NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Office of Public Witness
Presbyterian Women in the PC (U.S.A.), Inc
Sisters of Mercy Institute Justice Team
Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations
United Church of Christ (Justice & Witness Ministries)
United Methodist Church, General Board of Church & Society
United Methodist Women
United Sikhs
Women of Reform Judaism