Just weeks after having her landmark bill to modernize and reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) signed into law, today, during Sexual Assault Awareness Month, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa)—a survivor of domestic violence and sexual assault—hosted a roundtable discussion with victims’ advocates, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, Assistant Polk County Attorney Shannon Archer, and others to discuss the new law.
“As a survivor, modernizing and reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act has been a top priority for me, which is why I’ve worked for three years, in good-faith and across the aisle, to see that it’s done,” said Senator Joni Ernst. “My sincere hope is that this bill will make a difference for women across the country so they will never have to suffer the horrific personal abuse that too many have, and that those who do will have the necessary support and resources to overcome that trauma. Today, I heard directly from victims, victims’ advocates, state officials, and others about their experiences with this terrible issue and how this new law will lend critical support to those in need.”
Participants of the roundtable included Attorney General Miller, Assistant Polk County Attorney Archer, and members from the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault (Iowa CASA), the Central Iowa Service Network Against Human Trafficking, and the International Association of Forensic Nurses.
Since VAWA expired in 2018, Ernst has worked hard and across the aisle to modernize and reauthorize the legislation. Throughout all of 2020 and 2021 Ernst remained committed to getting VAWA modernized and reauthorized and introduced her own version of VAWA that drastically bolstered support for survivors in all communities. She had her bipartisan bill to modernize and reauthorize VAWA signed into law earlier this year.
Earlier this week, Ernst teamed up with Representative Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Iowa) in pushing the Biden administration to immediately implement parts of the new VAWA law that make clear and consistent definitions of sexual assault so it can be better addressed.