Angelina Jolie joins virtual rally to advocate for VAWA reauthorization and Family Court Reform
“Please contact your Senators and ask them to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) with these new protections for the sake of families across our country.” — Angelina Jolie
On January 19, 2022, Mom, filmmaker, and Special Envoy for UN Refugee Agency, Angelina Jolie joined advocates and Senate sponsors of the upcoming Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization for a policy day of action with National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence. Jolie called on Senators to co-sponsor and pass the bipartisan consensus bill to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.
VAWA is a key piece of legislation that dictates how the Federal government responds to domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking. From 1994 until 2018, VAWA created grant programs to provide services and housing to victim-survivors. VAWA also implemented training programs to improve the legal response to gender-based violence. VAWA has failed to be reauthorized since 2018.
Ms. Jolie’s endorsement of “Kayden’s Law” is particularly significant for our movement as it protects at-risk children in the following ways:
- Restricts family court judges from granting adjudicated abusers unsupervised parenting time with children if they present a risk.
- Requires private custody courts hold a hearing if a parent has been found by the child welfare system to have physically or sexually abused a child so that the private custody court can hear the facts about that abuse when deciding custody and parenting time for a child. This hearing is not required for neglect/poverty-related cases in the child welfare system and so does not impact such litigants.
- Recommends that courts train family court judges and court personnel on the facts of domestic violence, child abuse, and child sexual abuse.
VAWA has received bipartisan support. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Richard Durbin (D-IL), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) announced on December 16, 2021, that they had reached a deal on the framework to reauthorize VAWA. The Senators are prepared to introduce the bill later this month.