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Action Alert: Don't Let Congress Ignore Survivors! Senate Action Needed NOW!

On October 1st, the House passed a $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief measure to move forward efforts to finalize another much-needed COVID-19 relief bill, after its May passage of the $3.4 trillion Heroes Act was ultimately not taken up in the Senate. The new House measure, the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act (“Updated HEROES Act”), addresses the health and economic needs of the nation and includes necessary supplemental funding for sexual assault and domestic violence survivors and service programs. We thank Speaker Pelosi and all of the House champions who successfully included important increased supplemental funding for survivors of gender-based violence in the bill, while also acknowledging that more needs to be done to address communities that are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and by domestic violence and sexual assault. It’s time for the Senate to prioritize the needs of the American people and take action on a COVID-19 relief package!

The Updated HEROES Act is better for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault than the original one was - you contacted your Representatives to share your concerns, and they listened! It’s time to make the Senate listen, too!

We urge you to take action now by reaching out to each of your Senators to make your voices heard. Ask them to prioritize and quickly take up the Updated HEROES Act and pass this critically needed legislation, which includes much needed relief for victims of sexual and domestic violence.

Among other provisions, the Updated HEROES Act:

  • Provides supplemental funding for various Violence Against Women Act and Family Violence Prevention and Services Act grants, including the following that were not in the original HEROES Act:
    • $100 million for the Sexual Assault Services Program;
    • $25 million for Culturally Specific Services;
    • $25 million for outreach and services to underserved populations; and
    • $50 million for Tribal programs;
  • Amends the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) to increase deposits into the Crime Victims Fund and waives matching requirements for VOCA victim assistance grantees;
  • Increases immigrant survivors’ access to health, safety, and economic stability by expanding benefits; and
  • Provides survivors additional economic and rental support, including access to unemployment insurance and paid leave.

Please also urge the Senate to add a provision to strengthen survivors’ access to unemployment insurance by ensuring that all states recognize that survivors who need to leave their jobs in order to stay safe meet the state’s “good cause” requirement. This will ensure that survivors get access to the benefits they need as quickly as possible.

Email your Senators TODAY. Use the language below. It’s easy!

My name is [your name], and I am emailing from [your city/state and, if applicable, your organization]. The American people are relying on you to prioritize the passage of an additional COVID-19 relief package. The Updated HEROES Act passed by the House of Representatives on Oct. 1st provides critically needed supplemental funding for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, as well as health and economic supports.

Survivors and the advocates that serve them need your help. In particular, programs in culturally-specific communities who have not yet received any relief funding need this funding to meet the needs of survivors who are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and the economic crisis. [Insert specific needs of your community/state].

The country needs you to step up and support the Updated HEROES Act that includes additional and much-needed funding for domestic violence and sexual assault programs, funding for culturally-specific and underserved communities, funding for tribal programs, language to increase deposits into the Crime Victims Fund, and provisions to access to economic and health supports for immigrant survivors. This must be the Senate’s top priority. I am counting on you.

Respectfully,

[Your name, city/state]

 

For more information, please contact Dorian Karp (dkarp@jwi.org), Rachel Graber (rgraber@ncadv.org), and Monica McLaughlin (mmclaughlin@nnedv.org).

Posted by Lynn Brewer-Muse at 2:22 PM
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