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Capital Building

U.S. Policy

Futures Without Violence Policy Center advocates for legislation that prevents violence against women, children and youth, supports healthy families and communities and helps victims of violence and abuse survive, heal and thrive.

Based in Washington, DC, the FUTURES Policy Center leads important conversations on how to create safety and reduce violence utilizing a public health approach based on science that advances gender and racial equity. 

Issues & Advocacy

FUTURES’ policy work is fueled by partnerships and a strong advocacy network. Find out more about what we’re working on now and how you can get involved.

FUTURES signed on to this amicus brief co-lead by CLASP and Persyn Law & Policy for the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children, the American Academy of Pediatrics, CLASP, and other children’s advocacy organizations, medical professionals, and child development experts to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in the case regarding the legality of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

The Supreme Court has heard oral arguments for the case that will determine the constitutionality of restricting gun access to those with domestic violence protection orders. FUTURES, in partnership with important gun violence prevention organizations and other domestic violence prevention organizations gathered in front of the Supreme Steps to make sure our voices were heard: domestic abusers should not have guns. Full stop.

FUTURES joined victim services agencies from across the country in asking Congress to support victims services after a historic funding loss to the Crime Victims Fund. The Crime Victims Fund, created through the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA), is a primary funding source for victims services across the country. Congress is proposing a cut of 40 percent to compensate for the loss of money coming into the Fund.

Legislation & Policy

FUTURES seeks to inform and advance federal legislation that prevents violence, helps survivors of violence and abuse heal, and builds protective factors that allow adults and children to thrive, such as access to health care and economic opportunity. We work to advance equity and address the social drivers of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking and child and youth violence.

President Joe Biden Speaking to a Group of People PASSED! VAWA was reauthorized in 2022. The new VAWA includes more culturally specific resources, including for Tribes and LGTBQ people, more focus on teen dating violence, help for children exposed to violence and additional resources to help victims secure housing or address sexual harassment and violence at work. To see a section by section summary of VAWA, please see here. To read the full bill, go here.

On September 13, 1994, Congress passed a groundbreaking law called the Violence Against Women Act. The bill finally put the full force of the federal government into efforts to stop domestic violence and sexual assault and help victims. Since then, it has provided the funds for a national network of shelters and rape crisis centers, services and supports for victims, training and education, and reshaped our criminal justice system. Since its passage, domestic violence against adult women has declined 64 percent.

Additional Resources

FVPSA is the only federal funding source under the Department of Health and Human Services dedicated to providing domestic violence prevention services. FVPSA will reauthorize and expand funding for programs focused on protecting survivors and preventing family and domestic violence. Among the provisions for survivors, this bill includes authorizations for emergency housing, counseling, and assistance for those in financial distress. FVPSA was first authorized in 1984 and has provided essential services for survivors and their children.

FVPSA EXPANDS RESOURCES FOR SURVIVORS AND INITIATIVES TO ENDDOMESTIC VIOLENCE BY:

  • Increasing the funding authorization level to $252 million to respond to low funding levels and provide access to FVPSA funds for programs not currently funded.
  • Expanding support and access for culturally-specific programs.
  •  Strengthening the capacity of Indian Tribes to exercise their sovereign authority to more fully respond to domestic violence in their communities and authorizes funding for tribal coalitions and the Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center.
  • Meaningfully investing in prevention. Brings evidence-informed, community-based prevention initiatives to more communities.
  • Strengthening and updating the National Domestic Violence Hotline and hotline services for underrepresented populations.

Additional Resources

The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act is the cornerstone of the nation’s efforts to prevent child abuse and neglect. First passed in 1974, CAPTA provides grants to states to prevent child abuse and neglect, improve how systems respond to it and funds small amounts of training and research on how to reduce maltreatment. It has been reauthorized numerous times, most recently in 2010. It has also been amended since then to better address the overlap of substance use disorder and child maltreatment. While the majority of funding for the child welfare system actually goes to fund foster care placements for children after they have been removed from their homes due to neglect or abuse, CAPTA funds community-based services that help prevent the need for foster care. For a more complete history of CAPTA and explanation for all that it includes, please see:

Fact Sheets
Child Abuse Prevention Treatment Act

The 2010 reauthorization of CAPTA was noteworthy in that it included an increased emphasis on addressing domestic violence among families involved in the child welfare system.

Specifically:

  • Requiring the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to disseminate information on effective programs, practices, and training resources related to domestic violence in a child welfare context and to collect information on the incidence and characteristics of child maltreatment and domestic violence co-occurrence;
  • Authorizing HHS to provide training and technical assistance to providers of mental health, substance abuse, and domestic violence prevention services for prevention, assessment, identification, and treatment of child maltreatment, and to provide information on training resources to domestic violence personnel on interacting with child abuse and neglect investigations and interventions.
  •  Supporting research on effective collaboration between child protective services and domestic violence services, and including both domestic violence services and collaboration between child protective services and domestic violence agencies, through CAPTA state grants.14

The 2010 CAPTA reauthorization created a new category of “allowable services” under CAPTA for “developing and implementing procedures for collaboration among child protective services, domestic violence services, and other agencies in (a) investigations, interventions, and the delivery of services and treatment to appropriate and (b) the provision of services that assist children exposed to DV and that also support the caregiving role of non-abusing parents.”15

VOCA Senate pass voca instagram PASSED! The Victim of Crime Act’s (VOCA) Crime Victims Fund (CVF) is a non-taxpayer source of funding that supports thousands of crime victims services providers serving millions of victims of crime annually and is funded by monetary penalties associated with federal criminal convictions.

Passing the VOCA Fix Act increases deposits into the Crime Victims Fund by depositing monetary penalties associated with deferred prosecution and non-prosecution agreements into the CVF as well as monetary penalties associated with convictions. This continues funding for services that provide support to millions of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse survivors.

Earlier last year, President Biden passed the VOCA Fix act thanks to efforts of over 1,600 organizations and government agencies advocating for this important bill.

Additional Resources

Congress passed the first bipartisan federal gun legislation in decades and Biden signed it into law on June 25th, 2022. The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act allocates funding and support for initiatives including mental health programs, improving access to services and telehealth under Medicaid and CHIP, crisis intervention programs, expansion and implementation of red flag laws, penalizing gun trafficking and straw purchases and partially closing the boyfriend loophole. FUTRUES applauds the effort to take this important step towards life-saving policies and remain deeply concerned that some of these efforts including school safety measures could potentially harm particular students with disabilities as well as students of color. Read our full statement, a summary of the bill, and full bill text below.

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) was implemented to help job seekers access job training and education, gain high-quality employment, and receive critical tools and services in order to succeed in the labor market. WIOA has a specific focus of assisting those with increased barriers to employment, such as people with limited work experience, criminal histories or disabilities, get and maintain high-quality jobs. Many workers access WIOA through local American Job Centers, also called One-Stop Centers, that provide a broad range of employment services.

WIOA is especially critical for survivors of gender-based violence as it is designed to help workers with high barriers to employment, like survivors, receive the training and education they need to find and maintain high-quality jobs. The Act specifically discusses assisting displaced homemakers, people who have been providing unpaid services in the home and relying on the income of another family member, get high-quality jobs.

To read a more in-depth summary of WIOA, please see our WIOA primer.

WIOA 2022 Reauthorization (HR 7309)

In 2020, WIOA’s authorization expired. As a result, Congress drafted a reauthorization (HR 7309) which has not been signed into law yet. In May 2022, HR 7309 passed the House with bipartisan support. It will now be sent to committee in the Senate.

Senators Durbin (D-IL) and Capito (R-WV) introduced the Resilience Investment, Support, and Expansion from Trauma Act or the RISE from Trauma Bill in the Senate in June, 2023. This bipartisan legislation that would authorize more than $4 billion over 8 years to fund coordinated programming in communities, training for teachers and other educators on trauma-informed practices, workforce development programs to bring more public health staff into schools and communities hit hard by violence, the Children Exposed to Violence and Substance Abuse Program at OJJDP, and a new training center for law enforcement on addressing children and youth’s trauma in ways that de-escalate conflict and connect children and youth to appropriate services.

As an organization focused on preventing violence and trauma, FUTURES strongly supports this bill.

In May 2023, Congress reintroduced the Healthy Families Act. The Healthy Families Act (HFA) sets a national paid sick days standard by providing workers in businesses with 15 or more employees to earn up to seven job-protected paid sick days each year. HFA specifies paid sick days can be used by survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking who need to take time off from work to seek medical attention, obtain assistance, seek services, seek relocation or take legal action to address the effects of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking for the employee or a family member.

FUTURES applauds this effort to create a national paid sick days landscape that provides workers with the time they need to care for themselves and their families. Please see the full bill text and our fact sheet on paid safe leave below.

In May 2023, Congress reintroduced the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act (FAMILY Act). The FAMILY Act establishes a national paid family and medical leave program. The Act provides workers with up to 12 weeks of partial income when they take time for their own serious health conditions, including pregnancy and childbirth recovery; the serious health condition of a family member; the birth or adoption of a child; to address the effects of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking and/or to make certain arrangements arising from the military deployment of a spouse, child or parent.

The Act also ensures workers who have been at their job for more than 90 days have the right to be reinstated following their leave and that all workers are protected from retaliation for taking the leave. This is the first time since the bill has been introduced that it includes leave for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. FUTURES applauds this effort to create a national paid family and medical leave landscape that provides workers with the time they need to care for themselves and their families. Please see the full bill text and our fact sheet on paid safe leave below.

Reports & Policy Briefs

FUTURES has witnessed the limitations of our workforce development system, which impacts the ability of survivors to access and successfully complete job training or education requirements. Survivors of gender-based violence and harassment often face unique barriers to accessing job training, education, and stable employment that our workforce development system fails to adequately address. Read our Workforce Development Recommendations here.

This brief details the importance of domestic violence survivors having access to affordable, reliable, and flexible child care. Research shows that the inability to access affordable, reliable, and flexible child care can keep survivors out of the workforce, force them to remain with abusive partners for financial stability, and endanger the health, safety, and wellbeing of their children.

Additional Reports & Publications

Blog & Media

Gun violence has already claimed over 4,000 lives this year – many of them young people. FUTURES’ Tiffany Garner writes, “Gun violence may affect everyone differently, but child after child who I met [as a child counselor] said they were ‘feeling numb’ to the violence they witnessed.” Read Graner’s blog here.

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