Top Priorities in Congress

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Priority: Protect Funding that Supports Victims of Sexual Violence

Congress is now considering the federal budget for the fiscal year that begins on October 1, 2013. Help us ensure that these programs, which have been proven to reduce sexual violence and help victims, are funded. We’re asking Congress to:

  • Release $1 billion from the Crime Victims Fund, and guarantee that at least $500 million will be distributed through the VOCA state victim assistance grants.
  • Include $35 million for the Sexual Assault Services Program. SASP, established in VAWA, provides critical federal funding to local programs that serve victims of sexual violence.
  • Support the Justice Department’s Vision 21 Initiative, which encourages the use of solid research, evaluation and technology to more efficiently and effectively serve victims of crime. The president’s FY 2014 budget recommended $25 million for this initiative.
  • Include at least $125 million for DNA programs, in order to eliminate the backlog of untested DNA evidence. Ensure that at least 75% of this funding goes directly to solving cases, and that the SAFER Act is funded and implemented.

Ask Congress to prioritize funding for these programs.

Priority: Reauthorize the Debbie Smith DNA Backlog Grant Program

The Debbie Smith Act is considered by many to be the most important anti-rape legislation ever passed by Congress. It is named after rape survivor Debbie Smith, whose perpetrator was caught through CODIS, the national DNA database. Learn more and help us pass S.822, the Justice for All Reauthorization Act of 2013. S. 822 will renew the program and help us assess and reduce the backlog of untested DNA evidence from open rape cases (commonly known as rape kits) and bring perpetrators to justice.

Priority: Increase Protections for Survivors and Their Children

Thousands of rape-related pregnancies occur annually in the United States, and many survivors choose to raise children conceived in rape. A number of states already have laws on the books that block rapists from asserting parental rights, such as custody and visitation, over children conceived as a result of their crime. To incentivize the rest of the country to pass such laws, Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) and Tom Marino (R-PA) introduced H.R. 2772, the Rape Survivor Child Custody Act. Help us pass H.R. 2772 and increase protections for survivors and their children.

What You Can Do

RAINN can’t do this alone. Members need to hear from you that these issues matter. Visit our Action Center today and contact your Representative and Senator about RAINN’s current policy priorities. All it takes is a few clicks or a quick call to make a difference.

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