WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Katie Porter (CA-45) today joined her House colleagues to pass an extension for the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which supports the safety of and provides protections for survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. The bill passed with an amendment authored by Porter, which integrates the term “economic abuse” throughout the legislation.
“Until we address the full spectrum of abuse that survivors face, we won’t significantly reduce rates of domestic violence,” Porter said when introducing her amendment on the House floor. “Economic abuse ranges from employment sabotage to malicious attempts to restrict survivors’ access to funds. My amendment would ensure that this largely invisible abuse is recognized federally and victims are afforded all of the protections offered under the VAWA.”
Congresswoman Porter’s amendment clarifies that economic abuse is included as a subset of domestic violence under federal law. This ensures that survivors of economic abuse have equal access to VAWA’s protections. The amendment has the support of numerous groups advocating for the safety and security of survivors: the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence, the Center for Survivor Agency and Justice, Human Options, the National Organization for Women, Orange County United Way, the Orange County Women’s Health Project, and the San Francisco Office of Financial Empowerment.
“The Center for Survivor Agency and Justice is grateful for Congresswoman Porter’s leadership and vision on behalf of survivors of domestic and sexual violence,” said Lisalyn R. Jacobs, Legal & Policy Director at the Center for Survivor Agency and Justice. “Particularly with respect to economic abuse, we are grateful that the congresswoman recognizes, as we do, the pervasive nature of economic abuse and the need to insure it’s broadest application within VAWA.”
“We know today that abuse in a relationship is not just physical, it can take on many debilitating and unacceptable forms, including economic abuse,” said Allyson Sonenshine, Founding Director of the Orange County Women’s Health Project. “The Orange County Women’s Health Project applauds Congresswoman Porter for her efforts to bring justice for victims of all types of domestic violence, including those whose have been denied the ability to control their own financial security.”
“The National Organization for Women supports Rep. Katie Porter’s effort to ensure that economic abuse is recognized in the law as a form of domestic violence which keeps victims poor and captive to their abusers,” said Toni Van Pelt, President of the National Organization for Women.
Congresswoman Porter has been a strong advocate for women and families. She voted last week to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would close the gender pay gap. Last month she also introduced bipartisan legislation to make childcare more affordable, allowing more working parents—often moms—to participate fully in our economy. Earlier this year, Porter joined her House colleagues at an event announcing the introduction of the legislation to extend VAWA, where she shared her story dealing with law enforcement as a survivor of domestic violence.