TIME TO REAUTHORIZE FVPSA; Congressional Record Vol. 164, No. 147
(House of Representatives - September 05, 2018)

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                       TIME TO REAUTHORIZE FVPSA

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under the Speaker's announced policy of 
January 3, 2017, the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Thompson) is 
recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the majority leader.
  Mr. THOMPSON of Pennsylvania. Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the 
opportunity to join my colleagues on the

[[Page H7866]]

floor here to reflect on a piece of legislation. It is a righteous 
piece of legislation that is time to be reauthorized that has served so 
many. I really rise today to talk about an issue that affects 1 in 4 
women and approximately 15.5 million children every year--domestic 
violence.
  Domestic violence has been cast into the background throughout most 
of our history, remaining a hidden problem, one that wasn't talked 
about, and one, certainly, that wasn't properly addressed.
  Survivors of domestic violence have often tolerated physical, mental, 
and emotional abuse in silence, out of fear their spouses or partners 
would retaliate.
  Former battered women, civic organizations, and professionals began 
to open shelters in the 1970s to provide services to abused women and 
their children. After seeing the great results from these 
efforts, Congress led a series of hearings in the early 1980s to 
understand the scope of this violence and explore possible responses.

  This led Congress to pass legislation that touched on all facets of 
domestic abuse. As part of the Child Abuse Amendments of 1984, the 
Family Violence Prevention and Services Act, or FVPSA, was enacted to 
support lifesaving services, including emergency shelters, crisis 
hotlines, counseling, and programs for underserved communities 
throughout the United States, including the United States territories.
  This critical legislation has been authorized seven times since its 
enactment, most recently in 2010 for 5 years, through fiscal year 2015. 
That is why I, along with 102 of my colleagues, introduced H.R. 6014, 
which reauthorizes the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act an 
additional 5 years through fiscal year 2023.
  Congress sets aside funding for three purposes under FVPSA, and I am 
going to look at these a little more in depth. But first, I want to 
take the opportunity to say I am pleased that I am joined by a couple 
of my colleagues this evening.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentlewoman from Wisconsin (Ms. Moore), 
my colleague who has been an original cosponsor of this reauthorization 
legislation
  Ms. MOORE. Mr. Speaker, I thank Mr. Thompson, and, indeed, it is my 
pleasure to join him in cosponsoring the reauthorization of the Family 
Violence Prevention and Services Act of 2018.
  Mr. Speaker, I am so very, very pleased that this is a piece of 
bipartisan legislation introduced by Glenn Thompson, Elise Stefanik, 
and Lisa Blunt Rochester.
  Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, we have found the need to stick together 
in a bipartisan manner because violence against women and children, 
unfortunately, is not a partisan issue. It is not an issue that is 
relegated to one race of people and to one economic class. It is 
pervasive, and it is a detriment to our entire American community.
  But fortunately, Mr. Speaker, since 1984, Congress has passed the 
Family Violence Prevention and Services Act as the primary Federal 
funding source to support emergency shelters and related assistance for 
victims of domestic violence and their families. We have updated it 
based on best practices that we have seen, and the monies are available 
to community-driven solutions and a network of programs and services 
dedicated to responding to domestic violence across the country.
  This reauthorization would follow current authorization levels for 
fiscal years 2019 through 2023. FVPSA, is, of course, at the heart of 
the Nation's response to domestic violence, ensuring, Mr. Speaker, that 
these shelters and programs are able to keep their lights on and their 
doors open to serve more than 1.3 million victims of domestic violence 
and their children every year.
  Again, it serves nearly 1,600 community-based programs through State-
formula grants.
  Not only do they serve shelters, the hotline, and crisis 
intervention, but they also provide legal assistance and police 
services as well. It is a multistate strategy, and we are very proud of 
its effectiveness.
  In fact, the National Institute of Justice funded a multistate study, 
and it shows conclusively that the Nation's domestic violence programs 
address not only the most urgent safety needs of victims to protect 
themselves and their children, but it also asserts that, if this 
funding did not exist, the consequences for the victims would be dire, 
including homelessness; serious losses, as in mothers losing custody of 
their children; and continued abuse.
  As Mr. Thompson has pointed out, the abuse is not simply confined to 
physical abuse, but the emotional abuse and economic abuse as well, and 
even, sadly, death of some of these women.
  Each year, the National Network to End Domestic Violence releases a 
report called ``Domestic Violence Counts: A 24-hour National Census of 
Domestic Violence Services.'' Sadly, it reports that in just 1 day last 
year, 2017, 72,245 victims of domestic violence were happily receiving 
services.
  But you know what, Mr. Speaker? Another 11,441 requests for services 
were left unmet because of the lack of funding and resources.

                              {time}  1815

  So we do a pretty good job with this program, but there are always, 
always, always a dearth of resources.
  I appreciate Mr. Thompson providing me with the time, and I have 
examples, if time will allow, for me to just share some of the stories, 
just to give some face, Mr. Thompson, to some of the people who are 
served by the local shelters, programs, coalition, funding for Tribal 
governments to provide essential services to survivors.
  In the State of Washington, we have Inez, who was 14 years old and 
the only survivor of a fire that killed her entire family. She was 
taken in by relatives, only to be raped by her uncle at age 15, as so-
called ``payment for her care.''
  She gave birth to a son, Manuel, who was never allowed to call her 
``Mother.'' At 16, she met Tomas, thinking this would be an escape for 
her and Manuel. He promised her a life of love and security but, in 
reality, that security meant a locked closet where she and Manuel were 
routinely starved and sexually assaulted. When her second son, Miguel, 
was born, Inez decided that she just had to get a way before she and 
her two sons were further victimized.
  Inez learned of the domestic violence hotline from women she had 
worked with in the orchards, and a coworker called and helped Inez and 
her children go to a local YWCA shelter. She lived there for 2 years to 
get back on her feet while she gained her U visa and rebuilt her life. 
Inez now has her green card and a home of her own, and her boys are 
thriving in school and preschool.
  You know, there are many, many stories that I can go on with. I just 
want to say that the #MeToo movement has given all of these survivors a 
renewed hope and courage to come forward to tell their stories.
  Mr. Speaker, I thank Mr. Thompson so much for his time, for his 
stewardship over this important legislation, and I urge my colleagues 
to stand with these survivors by cosponsoring H.R. 6014, the FVPSA 
Reauthorization Act, and to push for the passage of this bipartisan 
legislation in this 115th Congress.
  Mr. THOMPSON of Pennsylvania. Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague, 
Congresswoman Moore, for sharing Inez's story. It is a story that 
occurs in a frightening way so many times, where victims of abuse--but 
at the same time, it is an inspiring story because it illustrates how 
these important services that we fund through this piece of legislation 
can help save lives, saved the lives of this woman and her son, to be 
able to change their lives around, you know, really, being caught in 
such a long history of abuse and how it makes a difference.
  So I thank the gentlewoman for her leadership and for sharing that, 
the story of Inez--much appreciated.
  Ms. MOORE. Mr. Speaker, if I just might add, Mr. Thompson, it is 
because of us. I mean, as legislators, we get a bum rap sometimes. We 
don't know Inez necessarily, but it is because of us and this funding 
that there is someone on the other end of that telephone who can answer 
the call. It is because of the work and this authorization that there 
is a place for Inez to go.
  This did not always exist before 1984. And while we can't end every 
single act of violence, we do deserve the credit for creating the space 
and the opportunity for these victims to be able to come

[[Page H7867]]

forward and, when they gain the courage, to leave these domestically 
violent situations.
  The most dangerous moment for any of these women is that point in 
time when they decide to do something about their situation, and that 
is the point in which there has just got to be a resource there.
  Mr. THOMPSON of Pennsylvania. Absolutely. So when they make that 
courageous decision, they quickly find they are not alone; there is 
someone there reaching out.
  Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman for being a part of this Special 
Order this evening. Again, I want to thank my colleague and commend her 
for her leadership on this important issue.
  Mr. Speaker, I want to reiterate the importance of FVPSA. This 
legislation is at the heart of our Nation's response to domestic 
violence services. This program ensures that local domestic violence 
shelters and programs are able to keep their lights on and the doors 
open to serve more than 1.3 million victims and their children every 
year.
  FVPSA funds nearly 1,600 community-based programs through State 
formula grants, including 60 programs located throughout the 
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, my home State. These programs provide the 
necessary resources to local communities that help educate individuals 
on healthy relationships, as well as offer legal assistance, crisis 
intervention, and counseling.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Walberg), an 
esteemed colleague, a good friend of mine. I have the privilege and 
honor of serving with him on the Education and the Workforce Committee.
  Mr. WALBERG. Mr. Speaker, I thank Representative Thompson for this 
Special Order but, even more importantly, for sponsoring this 
legislation and giving many of us the opportunity to join with him 
because, indeed, this is not simply a piece of legislation that changes 
lives and saves lives, as it does, but it also changes history--the 
history of individuals, the history of families we trust, and the 
history of communities and this country--by doing the right thing.
  This Special Order on the importance of the Family Violence 
Prevention and Services Act takes this from just simple legislation and 
the effort that goes there and puts human faces on it, and so I thank 
the gentleman for that.
  I am proud to be a cosponsor of this vital legislation that, for over 
30 years, has been protecting and seeking justice for victims of 
domestic violence, especially women and children, though also for men 
and parents who are caught in a trap that, sadly, too often takes place 
within a so-called family situation.
  FVPSA was the first Federal law to address domestic violence; and 
since the law was enacted in 1984, it has continued to focus on 
providing shelter and services for survivors and children exposed to 
domestic violence.
  Every year, the National Network to End Domestic Violence conducts 
its annual census, which provides snapshot of domestic violence 
services provided nationwide during a 24-hour period. Last year, the 
survey found that, in Michigan, my home State, on just 1 day, 2,359 
Michigan residents were given shelter or provided services through a 
domestic violence program. These are lives. 2,359 lives were touched 
with this program. This included over 1,600 victims finding refuge at a 
shelter or temporary housing arrangement, and over 400 calls to the 
Michigan Domestic Violence Hotline.

  I have had the opportunity to visit the SIREN/Eaton Shelter, which 
provides indispensable services to the community surrounding Charlotte, 
Michigan. The mission of SIREN/Eaton Shelter is to promote the 
elimination of domestic violence and homelessness by providing 
temporary housing, support, advocacy, education, counseling, and 
information to victims and the community.
  Whenever a victim reaches out for help, it is vitally important that 
they have access to safe refuge, the support services they need to 
protect themselves and their family, and hold their abusers 
accountable.
  Congress plays an important role in protecting victims of domestic 
violence as well as children who are the victims of abuse. This 
important legislation helps keep the lights on at domestic violence 
shelters across the country so they can continue their efforts to break 
the cycle of abuse for generations to come and, ultimately, change 
history.
  Mr. Speaker, a thank-you again to Representative Thompson for 
sponsoring this bill and giving us the opportunity to join with him, 
and also for holding this Special Order tonight to put faces, connect 
faces and lives to legislation that can make a difference.
  Mr. THOMPSON of Pennsylvania. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from 
Michigan (Mr. Walberg) for his leadership on issues related to 
Education and the Workforce, serving that committee, as you do, and I 
am proud to serve there with you, but also for having that heart for 
individuals who are facing abuse and those victims that we know are out 
there who are struggling as a result of the various types of abuses 
that occur. I know the gentleman has a heart of service, of trying to 
provide this, so I am certainly proud to work with him on this 
important reauthorization of this legislation.
  Mr. Speaker, as a part of this, of the Family Violence Prevention and 
Services Act, Congress sets aside funding for three purposes under 
FVPSA. This includes a national domestic hotline which receives calls 
for assistance related to domestic abuse, incredibly important, being 
able to, 24/7, reach out for help when finding themselves in these 
tragic circumstances.
  Another area, another purpose is direct services like housing, 
counseling, legal advocacy, and referrals through State grants for 
victims of domestic abuse and their children and efforts to prevent 
domestic violence through a program known as Domestic Violence 
Prevention Enhancement and Leadership Through Allies.
  Now, I would like to take the opportunity to highlight one of these 
programs, The National Domestic Violence Hotline, more commonly 
referred to as The Hotline.
  Beginning in 1996, this 24-hour, 7-day-a-week service provides free 
and confidential support for individuals who call for assistance 
related to domestic violence issues. The Hotline also provides 
referrals and connects individuals to the most comprehensive resource 
base in the country, with over 4,800 service providers in the United 
States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam, all possible 
through the continuous support of FVPSA funding.
  The Hotline is the only 24/7 center in the Nation that has access to 
service providers and shelters across the United States, including our 
territories. This service also helps with safety planning and support 
related to questions related to healthy relationships.
  Not only does The Hotline answer calls from victims, but it also 
provides services and support to helpers, who are individuals who 
contact The Hotline on behalf of a person who is now or has previously 
been the victim of abuse, in addition to abusive partners, service 
providers, and law enforcement officials.
  One project The Hotline has introduced is the Love Is Respect 
program. The purpose of this program is to engage, educate, and empower 
young people to prevent and end abusive relationships. This online 
resource helps millions of teens and 20-somethings learn about healthy 
relationships and dating violence. Providing hotline services to youth 
is also authorized as a part of FVPSA, another critical need covered by 
this legislation.
  Mr. Speaker, in 2017, The Hotline and Love Is Respect answered over 
300,000 calls for help, 300,000 calls, texts, and chats from survivors 
of domestic abuse on a range of issues, including physical abuse, 
emotional and verbal abuse, economic and financial abuse, digital 
abuse, and sexual abuse.

                              {time}  1830

  The National Domestic Violence Hotline also partners with the 
National Indigenous Women's Resource Center's expertise to operate the 
StrongHearts Native Helpline.
  This important program provides culturally appropriate, confidential 
services for Native Americans affected by domestic abuse and dating 
violence.
  Although The Hotline has made significant strides over its lifetime 
offering support to victims, more than 98,000 contacts in 2017 went 
unanswered due to a lack of resources and capacity.

[[Page H7868]]

  Mr. Speaker, that is unacceptable. It is imperative that we pass this 
legislation to continue funding programs like these that have a proven 
record of success.
  Mr. Speaker, I would like to highlight one of the organizations that 
provides great resources on domestic violence issues, the National 
Network to End Domestic Violence.
  Each year, this organization releases a report entitled ``Domestic 
Violence Counts: A 24-hour National Census of Domestic Violence 
Services.'' This report revealed that, in just one day, Mr. Speaker, 
one day in 2017, more than 72,000 victims of domestic violence received 
services.
  In my home State and your home State, Mr. Speaker, of Pennsylvania, 
in that State alone, 1,278 victims of domestic violence found refuge in 
emergency shelters or transitional housing provided by local domestic 
violence programs; 1,208 victims of domestic violence received support 
through counseling, legal assistance, and children's support programs; 
760 hotline calls received that day were answered, which equals about 
32 calls answered per hour; and 1,841 individuals, Mr. Speaker, 
attended prevention and education training sessions on that day across 
Pennsylvania, gaining critical information on domestic violence 
prevention, early intervention, and other related services.
  Although this report showed the great success of our local community-
based programs, more than 11,000 requests for services went unmet that 
day because programs lacked the resources and the funding to carry out 
these services.
  Mr. Speaker, it is clear these programs are working for the American 
public. Let us pass this legislation to continue supporting victims of 
domestic violence and providing them with all the necessary resources 
they need on their way to recovery.
  Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleagues, Representative 
Moore and Representative Walberg, for taking time out of their busy 
schedule to talk about this important issue with us today. And, Mr. 
Speaker, I would like to thank the more than 100 Members of Congress 
who have stepped up and stepped forward to put their name on this 
legislation as cosponsors of this reauthorization bill. It is a strong 
bipartisan bill for a righteous purpose.
  FVPSA was the first Federal law to address domestic violence. Since 
its enactment in 1984, it has continued to have a primary focus on 
providing shelter and services for survivors and has increasingly 
provided support to children exposed to domestic violence and teen 
dating violence.
  It is my hope this legislation will continue to support those who are 
facing domestic violence and continue to create healthy and safe 
pathways to recovery.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

                          ____________________