Public Policy

Budget and Appropriations

The amount of money given out by the federal government for programs that benefit victims of violence and abuse and their children are determined by the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. Both of these committees have two subcommittees that oversee programs that help prevent and respond to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking, including the well-known Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) programs. The House and Senate Labor, Health and Human Services and Education (Labor/HHS) subcommittees oversee VAWA programs that are run by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) program that funds core domestic violence programs. The House and Senate Commerce, Justice, Science and the Judiciary (CJS) Appropriations subcommittees oversee VAWA programs that are run by the Department of Justice. These committees draft appropriations legislation in response to the President’s budget request, which represents the Administration’s spending priorities in a given year.

Futures Without Violence is one of three national Co-Chairs on the Campaign for Funding to End Domestic and Sexual Violence. The Campaign for Funding to End Domestic and Sexual Violence (Campaign) is an alliance of more than 30 national organizations advocating for funding for VAWA, FVPSA and the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA)

Fiscal Year 2012 – Fiscal Year 2013

The Campaign, co-led by Futures Without Violence, was very successful in maintaining mostly level funding for all VAWA and FVPSA programs and VOCA in the FY 2012 budget that was recently enacted. Priority programs for Futures Without Violence that received level funding included the Violence Against Women Health Initiative (landmark health programs funded through the Department of Health and Human Services), the National Resource Center on Workplace Responses, and core service dollars through FVPSA and VOCA.

Unfortunately, the youth and prevention programs in VAWA, also a major priority for Futures Without Violence were cut. The FY12 budget consolidated these programs into a $10 million “youth/prevention program” that includes: a focus on services for children exposed to domestic violence in the home, engaging men as positive partners and role models for youth, and preventing and responding to teen dating violence. In addition to consolidating the programs, Congress reduced the dollars going to these programs by $2 million. A goal in future fiscal years is to increase the dollars back to at least the previous year’s funding level of $12 million.

In leading the national coalition, Futures was also able support service and prevention dollars for sexual assault programs. An example was a set-aside for the sexual assault field in the Preventive Services Block Grant of $7.5 million was restored after being threatened with elimination. Futures Without Violence worked with the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence on a letter from the field to Dr. Frieden, CDC Director, urging him to protect important research, prevention, and service programs within the agency that support domestic, dating, and sexual violence programs, particularly this set-aside.

Congress recently agreed to fund all federal programs through March 2013 through a stop-gap measure. This “continuing resolution” means that VAWA, VOCA and FVPSA programs will be level funded.

What You Can Do To Help

Congress must hear from you about the importance of funding VAWA, FVPSA, and VOCA programs.

  • Sign up for Futures Without Violence action alerts so you can contact Congress when it is most strategic.
  • Visit our facebook page for the latest news on Appropriations and how you can make a difference by contracting your Members of Congress.
  • Contact our Policy office at 202-595-7382 to get more involved.