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Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster

Representing the 2nd District of New Hampshire

NH Delegation Speaks Out on Impact of Government Shutdown on New Hampshire Efforts to Prevent Sexual and Domestic Violence

Jan 16, 2019
Press Release
**Programs administered through the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence under pressure as government shutdown continues**

(Concord, NH) – Today, Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan and Representatives Annie Kuster (NH-02) and Chris Pappas (NH-01) released the following statements on the government shutdown’s impact on New Hampshire efforts to prevent sexual and domestic violence. As a result of the ongoing shutdown, the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence (NHCADSV) and three of its member programs are unable to access funds they receive directly from the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women (OVW). If the shutdown continues, the absence of these funds will impact the availability of critical support services for victims of domestic and sexual violence in certain Granite State communities, potentially creating an unsafe situation for these victims. In addition to the government shutdown, last month the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was allowed to expire, jeopardizing resources for survivors of sexual violence.

“The President’s shutdown – which is now the longest in United States history – is jeopardizing resources for organizations that ensure the safety of domestic violence and sexual assault survivors. That is shameful and unacceptable,” said Shaheen. “These organizations provide life-saving services to survivors across New Hampshire and the country, and it would be a moral failure to allow these groups to run out of funding because of the President’s reckless shutdown. To that end, I urge Senate Republican leadership to finally allow a vote on Republican-authored funding legislation that has already passed the House so we can reopen the government and end this shutdown immediately.”

“Survivors of sexual and domestic violence will feel the impacts of President Trump’s senseless government shutdown if funding is not quickly restored to critical programs that help support survivors and keep them safe,” Senator Hassan said. “This is just one more example of how this politically motivated shutdown is devastating for so many Granite Staters and Americans, and it is time for these games to stop and for the President to end this shutdown.”

“It’s unconscionable that survivors of sexual and domestic violence will be unwitting victims in President Trump’s ongoing shutdown,” said Kuster, the founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Task Force to End Sexual Violence. “We’ve seen that his reckless game of chicken will be most felt by many of the most vulnerable among us. I’ve voted in the House of Representatives to reopen the government along with both Republicans and Democrats. The only person who appears to not want to see the government reopened is President Trump. The Senate should immediately vote to reopen the government and send these bipartisan funding bills to the President. Congress should also immediately reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act and affirm our commitment to supporting survivors and their families following traumatic violence.”

“This government shutdown continues to make Americans less safe, and the effect on domestic and sexual violence survivors is a powerful reminder of what is at stake,” said Congressman Chris Pappas. “Without crisis center funding, victims will be left with fewer places to turn in their time of great need. Survivors should not have to wait another day for a sense of safety and security. We must recognize the importance of these programs and how many people will be adversely impacted if President Trump and Republican Senate leaders do not agree to end this senseless political fight and reopen the government.”

“The federal shutdown is having a devastating impact on victims of domestic and sexual violence and their children across the nation,” said Amanda Grady Sexton, Director of Public Affairs at the NHCADSV. “Crisis centers rely on federal funding to help survivors access emergency housing, to ensure that victims of sexual assault have support when going to the hospital for a rape kit, and to help victims of stalking develop a safety plan for themselves and their children.  Without support from the federal government, life-saving support services will become inaccessible and victims will be put in greater danger. Victims of crime and their children are the ones paying the price for the government shutdown, and we must do all that we can to restore critical resources to the agencies who work tirelessly to uphold public safety and to help keep survivors safe.”

Congresswoman Kuster is a co-sponsor of Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee’s Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, which would reauthorize VAWA and triple the amount of funding for the RPE program.  

Kuster has long been a champion for survivors of sexual and domestic violence, sharing her own personal experiences involving sexual assault on the House floor and joining with 17 other Members of Congress to read Emily Doe’s open letter describing her attack and ensuing trial – which marked the first time a victim’s statement has been read in full in the House chambers. The Bipartisan Task Force to End Sexual Violence works to raise awareness and propose solutions to the challenges posed by sexual assault and released their first legislative agenda last summer. The Task Force’s areas of focus include: K-12 education, campus sexual violence, the rape kit backlog, military sexual trauma, improved data and collection, online harassment, and law enforcement training. 

Shaheen is a member of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that funds grants provided through the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), and has made boosting support for Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) programs a top priority. Shaheen has consistently secured record-level federal funding for the OVW.

Additionally, Senator Shaheen has been a leader in the Senate on legislation to establish basic rights and protections for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Senator Shaheen’s bill, the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Rights Act – also known as the Survivors’ Bill of Rights Act —was signed into law in 2016 and created the first federal codified rights specifically for sexual assault survivors, and provides survivors the opportunity to enforce those rights in federal court. Shaheen was part of the bipartisan group that reintroduced the International Violence Against Women Act in 2017, and has historically been a leader in reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act.

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