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Shaheen, Hassan & Shea-Porter Announce $450,000 in VAWA Funding for Strafford County to Support Domestic Violence Survivors

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) announced today that the Department of Justice (DOJ) has awarded $449,139 in federal funding through the Office on Violence Against Women to the Strafford County Family Justice Center (SCFJC) for programming that helps survivors of domestic violence. Shaheen, the lead Democrat of the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee, has led efforts in Congress to support survivors of domestic and sexual violence, and has secured historic federal funding through the yearly appropriations process to fund the Office on Violence Against Women. 

“Boosting federal investments in the Office on Violence Against Women is vital to ensuring community partners like the Strafford County Family Justice Center have the resources they need to support survivors of domestic and sexual violence. That’s why I’ve continuously made funding for Violence Against Women Act programs a top priority and have fought to increase federal support over the years,” said Senator Shaheen. “Empowering our community partners, law enforcement and justice system with the tools they need to help survivors and raise awareness must remain a congressional priority. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I’ll keep working across the aisle to bolster efforts to that end.” 

“Survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking deserve justice," said Senator Hassan. “These federal grants will provide critical funding to our criminal justice system and victim service providers in Strafford County to better hold the perpetrators of these serious crimes accountable, and hopefully bring some peace of mind to those who they have harmed.” 

“Domestic violence and sexual assault are heinous crimes, and we have a duty to help fund local efforts to stop them,” said Congresswoman Shea-Porter. “This funding will help protect women in Strafford County, and will provide law enforcement with critical resources to support victims and enhance their response to these awful crimes. We must continue to fully fund federal efforts to combat violence against women.”

The federal grant will support both short- and long-term services, including case management, transportation assistance, child care and material assistance to survivors in need. The SCFJC was established in 2012, and partners with local law enforcement, health care providers and faith-based organizations to help survivors of domestic and sexual violence.

Senator Shaheen has been a fierce advocate for survivors of domestic violence, leading efforts in Congress to safeguard the Office on Violence Against Women and programs operated under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). In 2016, President Obama signed Shaheen’s landmark legislation into law, establishing new rights for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence. Last year, Senator Shaheen led the bipartisan effort to reintroduce the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA), which would ensure combating gender-based violence around the world remains a top diplomatic and development priority for the United States. In government spending legislation for fiscal year 2019, Shaheen once again secured the highest funding amount ever for VAWA programs, totaling $497.5 million dollars. The legislation passed the Senate Appropriations Committee in June.

Last July, Congresswoman Shea-Porter co-introduced the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2018, and last February, she co-introduced the International Violence Against Women Act. She also co-introduced the Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act, which would close loopholes that have allowed convicted stalkers to buy firearms. She has fought for increased funding for VAWA programs, and last March, she wrote to Congressional Appropriators to support the Department of Justice’s Sexual Assault Kit Initiative, which aims to reduce the backlog of untested sexual assault kits.

Without action by Congress, the Violence Against Women Act will expire at the end of September. Senator Shaheen was a leading voice in the Senate for reauthorizing VAWA in 2013, when the program was last reauthorized.