Last year’s modest increases in funding for the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA), along with sustained funding released from the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) are beginning to address a portion of the gap in direct services.

However, funding for these cost-effective and essential programs must be increased.

Our nation has made such phenomenal progress in understanding and addressing sexual and domestic violence because we have made a national, ongoing, annual investment.

Before the passage of VAWA, law enforcement often failed to conduct effective investigations and make arrests where appropriate, prosecutors often declined to file charges they could have proven, and courts often neglected or mishandled cases involving survivors and their families.

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Each state carries their own laws for single gays and lesbians and same-sex couple seeking to adopt.

At the same time, the national spotlight on these crimes is bringing more survivors out of the shadows and increasing requests for prevention programs, which create an increased demand for services.

Many programs are forced to turn away victims who are desperate and have nowhere to go.Additionally,federal VAWA funds encourage states to leverage local and state funds in the effort to end these pervasive crimes.VAWA’s work is complemented by VOCA, which funds direct services to victims of all types of crime, including domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking, and by FVPSA, which is our nation’s only dedicated funding source for domestic violence shelters and direct service organizations.Also in 2016, domestic violence programs laid off approximately 1,200 staff positions.Most of the laid off positions were direct service staff, including counselors, advocates, and children’s advocates.National Task Force to End Sexual & Domestic Violence Appropriations Letter for 2018 Fiscal Year Senator Richard Shelby, Chair, Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Ranking Member, Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science Senator Roy Blunt, Chair, Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Senator Patty Murray, Ranking Member, Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Representative John Culberson, Chair, House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science Representative José Serrano, Ranking Member, House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science Representative Tom Cole, Chair, House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Representative Rosa De Lauro, Ranking Member, House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies May 1, 2017 Dear Senators Shelby, Shaheen, Blunt, and Murray, and Representatives Culberson, Serrano, Cole, and De Lauro: The National Taskforce to End Sexual and Domestic Violence (NTF) is comprised of national, state, and local leadership organizations and individuals advocating on behalf of sexual assault and domestic violence victims and women’s rights.