tv Deputy AG Testifies on Violence Against Women Act CSPAN October 7, 2021 6:30pm-8:22pm EDT
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violence against women act, a game-changing bipartisan piece of legislation that has provided life saving assistance to women across america for nearly three decades. i'd like to start things off with a video that provides an overview of the legacy of this law. >> i was a shelter director in north florida in 1993 when congress was debating the violence against women act. and i remember standing in this shelter and thinking to myself after the violence against women act passes, this will all change. and indeed it has. >> the original 1994 law provided grants for legal aid and transitional housing for victims of domestic violence. it also created funding for law enforcement training and assistance hotlines. >> first passed in 1994 after intense lobbying from women who had few legal protections and
few resources against domestic and sexual violence. the bill is said to have decreased domestic violence for women by 70%. and it is bipartisan. >> instrumental in safeguarding women and children from abuse, anguish, violence and has resulted in the saving of millions of live. >> nothing could be more related to the administration of justice than the violence against women act. >> judges across the country are enlightened and prepared to deal with domestic violence. >> we've seen almost fifty% increase in reports. more are reaching out and getting help. >> why now? is there something you sense in this moment in the midst of the pandemic? >> laws have to evolve. >> we have made enormous progress in the country in addressing domestic violence. we have seen decreases of about 2/3 in the last 25-30 years. but as you point out we're starting to see an increase again?
>> 92% of women murdered in 2018 were killed by men they knew. >> covid-19 had only made the issue worse. >> one in three women have experienced either physical and/or sexual sbimt partner violence and non sexual partner violence. more than 30 years, october has been recognized as domestic violence awareness month. it is a reminder that all of us have an obligation to stand up and support survivors of sexual and domestic violence. many of whom had to nurse their wounds both physical and emotional in silence. and over the past 18 months, many survivors have been forced into the most vulnerable position of all. isolated, at home, with an abuser. during the pandemic nearly 4 in 10 rape crisis centers and nearly half of the ymca domestic violence programs have reported
increase in demand for services. police departments throughout the country have also reported a spike in arrests and calls related to domestic violence. in my home state of illinois our domestic violence hotline experienced 16 percent increase in calls in 2020. sometimes fielding 150 calls on a single day. a friend of mine and vocal advocate for survivors of domestic violence, the late shiela wellstone, used to say and i quote her, i find it absolutely inintolerable to think that a woman's home cob the most violent, deadly and dangerous place she can be at times. this has been a reality for far too many women in america and why the senate must reauthorize and strengthen the law that for nearly 30 years has transformed the way we address sexual and domestic violence in america, the violence against women act. in the years since it was first
signed la law vawa has changed and even saved countless lies. opened up new avenues for support relief for survivors and domestic abuse hotlines. and providing help. and funded resources that allow victims to escape abusive environments. unfortunately in the last congress the senate failed to reauthorize the violence against women act. while appropriations have continues, which is good news. much-needed efforts to improve the law stalled. thankfully in this congress there is a strong bipartisan commitment to join our colleagues in the house and pass vawa of 20 123.
she's been working closely to prepare the senate's own version of the vawa act of 2021. thank you so much. we'll also hear from senators leahy, and others. then hear from a law enforcement leader who has voiced strong support for this legislation as well. had a conversation on the phone last night with lisa. and she mentioned she started her career on the hill as an intern in this committee working on the original vawa. it inspired her to go to law school and embark on a clear of public service which is remarkable. glad you are back home again. i want to thank senators ernst and feinstein for their tireless efforts. senator feinstein because of a illness in the family could not join us this morning but she's here in spirit and we support ore leadership. number of colleagues including
senator leahy expecting to be here momentarily and make a statement and senator amy klobuchar has always been invaluable contributor to the effort. grateful for the shared commitment to produce a strong bipartisan bill. and march once again strong support from the indomitable congresswoman she'll jackson lee. house judiciary committee chair nadler and kmong fitzpatrick. our legislation will modernize and improve the final law and won't roll back the progress we've made. the new version of violence against women act will not only provide funding to organizations and resources that support survivors, it will invest in education and improve access to survivors for survivors in rural areas and those who require culturally specific services. it will enhance protections for native american, women and children. it will help keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of
abusers and it will provide survivors with the support they need by expanding access to legal services and other crucial programs. and once we join in passing the -- join the house in passing this legislation, we know we're going to send it to the desk of a leader who is synthetic, not just sympathetic. but wildly supportive of this measure. i can think of no better way for us to do our part in honoring domestic violence awareness month. senator grassley. >> thank you mr. chairman. i welcome everybody here. i supported in enact of the original vawa act that was in 1994 and voted to reauthorize the grant programs authorized by vawa multiple times. when i wasn't able to support a
democratic led effort to reauthorize i led a initiatorive to enhance the program. this year i led my colleagues in sending a letter to the senate proprietor urging congress continue to prioritize funding of the vawa programs. in previous years when i sent similar letters to proprietors, senator shelby and leahy, leaders of the proprietors were incredibly responsive to my requests and supportive of these programs so i want to thank them for working with me to champion the funding. as a member of this committee i've made it a top priority to champion related measures to expand rights and services for victims of intimate partner violence. this year, for example, i joined a number of committee members and co-sponsoring legislation to ensure that the crime victims
fund will receive an additional one billion dollars in deposits each and every year. services to the victims and survivors of intimate partner violence, sexual assault, and child abuse will accorded priority funding under the victims of crime act which creates this important fund. in 2016 and again this year, i also worked closely with young sexual survivor -- assault survivor amanda nguyen and the organization she founded on bills to enhance the right of sexual violence survivors in criminal justice system. in early 2018 i led this committee's effort to press the fbi for allegation of response
to sexual abuse lodged against olympic athletes against their former team doctor. i've been seeking justice for victims of larry nasser's abuse. and i have some timely questions for doj who refused to attend our hearing last month about accountability for those who failed these victims. as former chairman of the committee i also worked closely with senator feinstein on legislation to impose mandatory reporting requirements on coaches and instructors who witness abuse when working with young athletes. i also sponsored and led this committee in approving legislation to renew and update the trafficking victims protection act. as many of the victims of sexual trafficking also are victims of intimate partner violence. i worked with senator cornyn on the justice of victims of trafficking act. shepherding it through this
committee in the senate and led our committee in approving a major sponsored by former senator hoch hatch to make more resources available for the victims of the child pornography. renewing and extending vawa is our priority today. before we begin i want to take this opportunity to mention now that it is domestic violence awareness month. that it is important that we adopt an extension of vawa. a senate passed rethors could include the language and continue to engage in negotiations on additional important reforms and updates of vawa. i also want to recognize several of my republican colleagues who are not members of our committee but have joined us here to
testify today. senator ernst, smith, caputo, i thank you for being here. and i'd like to thank ms. monaco for attending today on behalf of the department of justice. >> we are both sides of the aisle grateful for her amazing leadership on this bill and hearing as chair of the sub committee on human rights and the law. we'll first begin with a statement from senator ernst.
we're glad you are here today senator ernst. please proceed. >> thank you very much chairman durbin. ranking member grassley, members of the senate judiciary committee. this low provides desperate resources to tackle sexual abuse and violence in our communities and as too often the case with programs like vawa, authorization has lapsed. but despite that reality year after year vawa programs continue to be funded by congress. i am a survivor myself. i know first hand the paralyzing fear that comes when someone you trust abuses you. but you don't have to be a survivor to understand just how awful violence against women can be in terms of physical and mental well-being. in terms of self image, in terms of our families. and in terms of the security of
our society as a whole. i wasn't in the senate in 2013 the last time congress authorized vawa. but since i've been here, i've had a vested interest in being part of the process and getting this vitally important bill modernized and reauthorized. because i believe we can always improve the violence against women act for our survivors. for months i've worked closely with chairman durbin and senator feinstein, and others on a bipartisan bill that would not only reauthorize vawa but truly modernize it. we are not there yet but good things in the senate often take time. we will keep working until we come to a bill that won't just be a talking point for one side or the other but a bill that can pass the senate and the house, become a law and truly deliver for my fellow survivors.
a modernized violence against women act that will pass the senate must present a renewed focus on rural survivors and invest in proven programs that reduce violence. when you live in a rural area like mine with a population just over 10,000 people t nearest shelter is an hour away in council bluffs. we've got to fix that and provide better resources for survivors in their own communities. we must also extend critical housing protections to rural community, allowing survivors protection and security. the as critical lifeline and a way out of these abusive situations. we also have to focus on successful efforts to prevent sexual violence like the rape prevention and education program. instead of reacting to these horrific crimes, this program works to prevent them from happening in the first place. not only that, we must ensure not just that survivors are
empowered, but that offenders are punished. my goal has always been to empower survivors, punish abusers and enhance the overall purpose behind this important law. i will continue working with my democratic partners, folks on this committee and stakeholders to reach a bill that will help prevent what happened to me from ever happening to another woman. it is a lofty goal, but why else are we here? thank you very much. >> thank you senator ernst. i see senator hyde smith has arrived. but senator caputo? >> thank you mr. chair. i appreciate having the hearing today and proud to be here with the support and hearing strengthening the violence against women act act or vawa. i'd like to begin by think thanking all the people that work in this area across our country. this is tough work. it is so important. and i want to make sure that and
thanking our survivors for their ability to fight back against this scourge. ending --. first time i came to the senate was to join with then senator biden to celebrate one of the reauthorizations in the early 2000s. i've also previously served as chairman of the board at a local organization that worked to combat domestic violence. that is the ywca in charleston west virginia. but this work would not be possible without the founding and support vawa provides and why it is critical this bill be reauthorized. i was told by a leader in west virginia these funds are a lifestyle lifeline to their work. i'm proud we've championed and in many cases increased amounts of money available for services for survivors in a bipartisan fashion. now with the office of violence against women has announced the
most recent round of grant funding, i am a bit concerned how the department of justice is allocating some resources. senator ernst deluded to this a bit. specifically my state of west virginia while we have great challenges we are accords -- i want to make sure we are accorded sufficient priority under existing statutory funding. as the only state that lost population, the population-based metrics are not helpful to meet the demands. one concern is vawa requires better updating to better reflect the needs of rural populations. and concerned about the plight of service providers struggling to recover economically post covid. i urge the department of justice to update to the max extent possible allocation mets to better represent rural areas. where many victims have unique challenges to reporting crimes and seeking assistance. vawa reauthorization has
historically within a bipartisan effort as discussed today and i'm happy to see many colleagues present today demonstrating willingness to work together to get survivors of domestic violence the resources they need. we can pass this bill which encompasses the provisions which already there is widespread bipartisan consensus. doing so would not end our conversation or our work on behalf of victims and survivors because we know there are things we must continually improve to meet the needs and challenges. i would also like to thank senators feinstein and ernst for their dedicated movement to get this passed. for example, a few weeks ago or few years ago human traffics was not a great concern in my state. but sadly now it is. in addition to the challenges by covid we continue to be overwhelmed by the impact of an opioid epidemic. >> we're all here with a shared gold. i've heard from individuals and organizations that need our help. we provide that help. i'm ready to work together
during domestic violence awareness month and beyond to see this goal accomplished so that we can continue to empower victims, support our survivors, protect families in every one of our states. thank you. >> thank you senator capito. senator leahy is able to join us and he'll be find by senator hyde smith. senator from mississippi. >> thank you very much mr. chairman. i had the open the senate this morning and little bit of delay in my replacement getting there. but we're here and i want to thank you and ranking member. since this was enacted in 1994. as one who was here at that time i know this is one of the most consequential pieces of
legislation within our committee's jurisdiction. but with our evolving world came a need to not only reauthorize the law but update and strengthen it as well. in 2013 we pass ad strong bipartisan violence against women act reauthorization. i was chairman of the committee and it was a top priority of mine. i proudly partnered with senator crepal and we did just that. we put together a bipartisan bill, co-sponsored by 62 senators. it passed the senate overwhelmingly with 78 votes. and some thought we should water it down to make it easier to pass. senator crepal and i stood with the survivors in victim service professionals who called for legislation to protect all victims regardless of their immigration status or sexual orientation or their membership in an indian tripe.
and introducing a supported bill very soon. but this is not about politics. about listening to survivors ensuring those on the front lines working to prevent sexual and domestic violence have all the tools we need. especially with covid. as coroners gone to crime scenes when i was a prosecutor and seeing women who had been beat on the death and then we find that this had been going on for
some time. so that there is no place to report it, nothing do. now, that was nearly fifty years ago. we can do a lot better and we do. i still remember those, every one of those scenes like it was yesterday. and socially distancing pushed many survivors living with their abusers further into isolation during covid. victim service providers are struggling to be increasing housing and economic needs. the programs of vawa make a real difference to survivors and families. we owe it to work with them. and introduce a strong bipartisan bill without delay. thank you for the courtesy mr. chairman. >> thank you senator leahy for your leadership over the years for this important legislation. senator hyde smith. >> thank you mr. chairman and ranking member grassley. i appreciate the opportunity to be here today to speak for the women who are experiencing these
situations. my concerns are a lot like senator capito's. as we consider this reauthorization, i certainly want us to look at what i feel is an overlooked population. the survivors of intimate partner violence who reside in rural areas. it is a lot harder to get access to things. these are the particular challenges faced by so many victims and survivors of domestic violence in my state of mist mississippi. before even making the decision to seek help these survivors most often women have to overcome cultural norms which prioritize family privacy, which is very important in rural areas, traditional genders roles and keeping their families together. when they do decide to get heff they have to travel long distances and fewer instances to get there in. on one account residents reside at least 40 miles from closest
service provider compared to less than 1% in urban areas. perhaps most dawning, these survivors don't have the ability to remain anonymous that they wish they would have when they are seeking their help. and they are so concerned of what the community would think of them. all of us in congress should ensure that all victims of domestic abuse and violence and stalking are protected and receive the services they need. to this end these programs are funded generously each and every year by the appropriations committee which i serve on. earlier this year we also came together as a chamber and unanimously adopted a measure to significantly increase deposits into the crime victims fund. this cooperative achievement will go a long way too sustaining the fund over time. but we need to harness that same cooperative spirit now. october is domestic violence awareness month. a time we should come together
to develop bipartisan relationships to address this and have meaningful chances that this would be signed into law by the president. but we're not yet there and that is extremely frustrating. the other chamber this year past reauthorization bill that has little chance of reaching sixty votes in this chamber. that bill is yet to overcome objectives from prosecutors who fear it will limit their ability to successfully pursue repeat offenders of domestic violence. it is yet to address concerns that it could destabilize some states' unemployment systems and yet to address provisions that may reduce giant grant eligibility for providers serving victims of elder abuse or commercial sexual exploitation and ironically is the bill's gender identity provisions can make it more challenging for grant provisions to best service the right
victims. therefore i call on this committee and snot leadership to adopt the reauthorization bill this month that embodies language on which we agree, including a greater emphasis on serving victims in rural areas. in the meantime i believe we should continue to work together in good faith to resolve the remaining areas where we've yet to reach consensus. we need to do it for the sake of survivors of victims of domestic and sexual violence everywhere. thank you for allowing me to be here to speak on such an important issue. >> thank you senator hyde-smith. and senator capito before you leave i want to make a shameless plug for the rise in trauma act bill you have joined in and focusing on the impact exposure to trauma has on our children and providing them the services they need to help heal. thank you so much for being co-sponsor. thank you for joining us this
morning. we're now going to call before us lisa monaco. if i can get to the appropriate page here so i don't say the wrong thing at many moment. i welcome deputy attorney general lisa monaco. before you sit down, let's administer the oath. do you affirm the testimony you are about to give before the committee will be the truth the whole truth so help you go ahead. note the affirmative. she serves as the second ranking official and --. deputy attorney general monaco was confirmed by the senate with bipartisan support in april.
previously served as a career federal prosecutor and several leadership positions across the department. served as homeland security and counterterrorism advisor to president obama, born and raised in massachusetts, graduate of harvard and university of chicago law school. deputy general please proceed. >> thank you very much mr. chairman, ranking member grassley. members of the committee. i appreciate very much this opportunity to speak to you today. the violence against women act has had an enormous impact in combatting domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. and i'm here to urge congress to reauthorize and to strengthen it. before we get started though mr. chairman with your indulgence i would like to recognize several tragedies that the department of justice has suffered in recent days. yesterday in tucson arizona a
dea agent was shot and killed, and a second dea agent and a task force officer were shot and wounded. separately last friday, a deputy u.s. marshall succumbed to injuries from a vehicle accident that occurred while he was assisting with a law enforcement operation. these sacrifices remind all of us of the risks law enforcement takes every day to protect the communities that they serve. my thoughts and prayers are with their families and the men and the women of the dea and the u.s. marshall service. now mr. chairman and ranking member grassley. the original passage of the violence against women act in 1994 as you noted mr. chairman had a major impact on my own life. at the time i was a young staff member working for them chierm biden. time and again i read first hand
accounts not only about the violence too many people, mostly women, suffered. but also about the lack of accountability for these crimes. statistics the committee reported during that period painted a very grim picture. 98% of rape victims never saw their attacker caught, tried and imprisoned. meaning almost all of the perpetrators of rape walked free. fewer than half of the people arrested for rape were convicted and almost half of convicted rapisted could expect to serve only a year or less in jail. my conversations with individual survivors, rape crisis centers, domestic violence are shelters, emergency rooms and police stations put a human face on those statistics. and that experience let me to want to go to law school mr. chairman. and it led me into public service. and it drew me to a career in
law enforcement and criminal justice i. with the passage of vawa i saw how a law could make a real difference in people's lives. congress reauthorized vawa in 2000, 2005, 2013, each time with bipartisan support. over the years we've made substantial progress but the need for vawa's programs and protections is as critical as ever. and i'd like to highlight just a few of the items that the department of justice sees as priorities. first reauthorizing vawa's violately important grant programs including in the president's fiscal year 2022 request. this will ensure communities can provide critical services to survivors as well as the right tools and training to make sure that responses to these kriemsz are survivor-centered and trauma-informed.
and i'm pleased to announce today that the office of violence against women issued this year more than 476 million dollars in grants to help state, local and tribal organizations support survivors as they heal, promote victim access to justice and train professionals to respond to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. second we need to find new ways to reach underserved populations and culturally specific communities. third, expanding ability of tribes to protect their communities from domestic and sexual violence through expanded jurisdiction. and fourth, reducing homicides through federal firearms laws including by closing the so called boyfriend loophole that leaves countless victims at risk. now, before i take your questions, mr. chairman. i want to speak to two recent issues that have received considerable national attention and which i think underscore the
continued importance of vawa. the tragic murder of gabby petito has been at the forefront of many's minds. while i won't speak to the ongoing investigation regarding her death, i am struck by two critical lessons we should take away from the publicly reported information, not just in this case but in the thousands of other cases that don't receive public attention first is the importance of the bystander's 9-1-1 call. the second, as we learned from watching public video footage of interviews conducted by these officers is the vital importance of having trained law enforcement who understand the dynamics of domestic violence when responding to such incidents. but we should not forget that gabby petito is not alone. there are more than 89,000 missing persons cases in this country. and roughly 45% of them involve
people of color including too many missing and murdered indigenous persons. gender based violence is too often a precursor to these cases. and while these cases often don't receive public attention, the department of justice will continue its work to prevent these crimes and to bring perpetrators to justice. finally, i want to recognize the many courageous women athletes who have spoken out and testified on behalf of the hundreds of survivors of larry nasser's horrific sexual abuse and most recently the four brave women athlete who is came before this committee last month. i also want to thank this committee for its work and that of the inspector general in bringing to light a system that inexcusably failed them and the scores of other survivors. as the deputy attorney general, as a lawyer, as a former fbi official, and as a woman, i was
outraged by the inspector general's findings and horrified at the experiences simone biles, mckayla maroney, maggie nichols and aly raisman encountered in their testimony. i am deeply sorry that in this case the victims did not receive the response or the protection they deserved. i discussed with the fbi director the full scope of changes he's instituting to ensure this will never happen and also a few additional measures inside the department of justice to ensure where there is ongoing threat, violence or abuse especially involving vulnerable victims that our prosecutors understand that they have a duty to coordinate with other local law enforcement partners to address it and i've made clear that it is a priority of the department of justice to provide victims and witnesses of crime the support they need.
my experience working on vawa for this committee many years ago taught me a key principle that guides me still today. our government has a moral obligation to protect its citizens. and when it falls short in that effort, we must listen to those who we have let down. to better understand where we can improve. survivors who come forward to report abuse must be met with competent and compassionate professionals who have the resources, training and institutional support to do their jobs. that's the promise of vawa. and one that the department of justice is committed to carrying out in our own organization and in vawa-funded programs and work through the to country. i appreciate the time and attention of many members of congress who contributed to this important legislation, many for decades. i look forward to continuing that work with this committee and to answering your questions today. thank you.
thank you deputy attorney general. its been my honor to serve on this committee for over twenty years. three weeks ago we heard as you recounted the incredibly compelling and heartbreaking testimony from four five survivors of sexual violence who are abused by dr. larry nasser. the reaction across the nation to that testimony was incredible. the american people want child predators held accountable. the department of justice has a special responsibility in this are regard. we had the director of the fbi present during the entire testimony of the gymnasts and he testified later, i think making no excuses for what they experienced when they finally summoned the courage to bring their grievance to the proper legal authorities. the fbi failed them.
our government failed them. we failed them. and it was very clear. in addition to managing millions of dollars in funds ear marked for survivors of abuse, the department of justice oversees individual prosecutions of predators and their betters. many people including myself and colleagues and the gymnasts who testified expressed shock and dissatisfaction with the department's decision to decline prosecution of the fbi agents who not only mishandled the nasser investigation but clearly lied to the inspector general's office. people who are charged with a crime of lying to the government are held accountable and some are in prison for the very acts which appear to have taken place here. and yet the decision not to prosecute is one which most of us clearly don't understand. what is your response to the criticism of over the department's decision not to prosecute these fbi agents.
if the department is commits to bringing justice what is your planned to better demonstrate that commitment going forward. >> thank you mr. chairman. first let me reiterate the survivor who is testified so bravely last month deserved better than they got from the fbi and the justice department. inexcusable failures. some quite fundamental. a lack after urgency, lack of care for the victims who we have a duty to protect. it is a core mission of the department to protect those victims and as you know the fbi director testified about a number of measures he's putting in place from strengthening policy, strengthened training, mandatory reporting when such abuse comes to light in the future. and i've also put in place the measures i referenced in my opening statement. now with regard to the understandable interest and frustration, with regard to the department's long-standing policy to protect appropriate
decision making and not commenting on declination decisions, i can inform the committee today that the recently confirmed assistant attorney general for the criminal division is currently reviewing this matter, including new information that has come to light. in light of that review, i think you will understand mr. chairman that i am constrained what more i can say about it. but i do want the committee, and frankly, i want the survivors to understand how exceptionally seriously we take this issue and believe that this deserves a thorough and full review. >> i might ask you this, is there any sense of urgency or timetable to this new criminal review about the wrong doing by the fbi agents? >> we take exceptionally seriously our duty to protect victims. and yes, i think you can be assured there is a sense of urgency and gravity with the work that needs to be done.
>> i'd like to ask you about one other issue and the remaining minute. i mentioned while she was still here with senator capito and i have co-sponsored legislation, the rise from trauma act. when you read the statistics of the number, not only of spouses, but children of those spouses who are either victims of violence or exposed to violence in their lifetime, it is a show-stopper. as a parent, you think back on the experiences of your own youth and those memorable events hopefully, god willing they are positive memories, but in many cases they are not. and there is a scar on souls and minds of these children that has to be addressed. or we see terrible outcomes. we're going through a spate of gun violence across america in the city of chicago, which i dearly love, which is just incredible. and you wonder who are these
kids that get so mixed up with the gangs and turn to guns and violence? the fight or flight syndrome and everything that follows. what can you tell me about your announcement this morning additional resources that are going towards the issue of dealing with trauma? >> mr. chairman, as you know one of the founding principles of the violence against women act when it was first enacted in 1994 and continuing on for 25 years has been to ensure that prosecutors, court systems, victim advocates and all who encounter children who are exposed to violence in the home, victims themselves of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking dating violence, to insure that when they encounter the system in all of its myriad forms that those individuals receive the service that they are due. meaning that service providers, the prosecutors, the judges have been trained to understand the
unique experience that a survivor of domestic violence or children exposed to violence in the home, what that trauma is like and how that should impact their movement, if you will, and what they get in the system. they shouldn't be retraumatized, mr. chairman, by coming forward and by seeking to hold their perpetrator accountable. >> i've gone over my time. and i'm sorry. tous just to close by saying that resources have to be available, for analysis, for counseling, remediation, mentorship, to get these kids a second chance. otherwise i'm sorry to say the results are going to be terrible. glad too work with you and attorney general and president with that issue. senator grassley. >> before i start my questions i want to emphasize what's been said here and you have already responded to it as positively and updated as you could about
reconsidering prosecution of these people that weren't doing their job and taking action appropriate. i sent a later to attorney general garland along the same line, the very same day i think that we had this hearing. now to my first question. it starts out with the fact that vawa's passed the house of representatives. on that bill certain prosecutor groups have flagged for us something concerning with that. business community has raised questions about unemployment benefits that are in that program could undermine the stability of the unemployment system. i hope that we can reach a bipartisan agreement to move a bill forward. short of that i hope we can continue to do what we've done
to reauthorize vawa. because it is a very important program that must be continued. so my question is based on the fact that i believe 90-95% of what's on the table in regard to vawa is agreed to. but then there is certain outstanding things. is the department supportive of ensuring that the existing vawa programs are extended, for example, through the end of year so that the bipartisan negotiations can continue on longer term reauthorization message? >> well mr. ranking member, first i want too thank you for your support in the past of reauthorization of vawa and exceptionally important provisions, not only the major funding and grant, grant programs and important grant proms that provide services to victims, but also the rural grant programs which i know is exceptionally important to you.
and so i thank you for your work and your support in the past and we look forward to continuing to work with you and the other bipartisan senators who were here before. i think it is very important that we move urgently to reauthorize the violence against women act. and of course we are grateful that the congress, when the violence against women act lapsed, that the funding programs were continued to be funded. because as we know, providers and services. but as senator ernst and others said, it is very important that we strengthen, improve and indeed modernize the violence against women act. so we stand ready to work with you, senator and others, to make sure we can get that done. >> okay. some years ago this committee approved the survivors bill of rights for sexual assault. this year i'm working with colleagues on related legislation that would provide states with the digital funding on the stop formula grant
program authorized by vawa if they adopt legislation to implement these same rights at the state level. i remain concerned however that only a minority of sexual assault victims come forward and report to crime. other than adopting the survivors bill of rights, what additional steps might federal, state, local authorities take to encourage more victims of sexuality or report the crime and cooperate in its investigation? expand the much needed and urgently needed services. i spent some time with a number of advocates last week, and i
heard from them that, frankly, and unfortunately, the demand for services is far outpacing the availability of those services. we have waiting lines in places like rape traumas and rape crisis centers, critical rape trauma centers that vawa funds. i think the simple answer is reauthorization of funding that the president is seeking. >> okay. my last question will have to be about the federal courts to award restitution of certain losses incurred by victims of crime in federal cases and the government accountability office recommended several years ago that the department of justice implement performance measures and goals for the collection of restitution. to what extent has doj implemented those reforms and what can you tell us about the subject? >> well, senator, i'll have to go back and look at that
specific report and our responses. although i know that we take very seriously reports from, whether it's the gao or the ig, and particularly when it comes to stewardship of federal dollars. >> could you respond to that in writing, then? >> i would be happy to. >> thank you, senator grassley. senator lee? >> thank you, chairman. attorney general, it's great to see you here. i've had the pleasure working with you over the years. you talked about being a junior staff member here. you were a very vital staff member right from day one, and i appreciate being here on this, and i can't think of anybody better to be talking about violence against women act. it's a very consequential piece of legislation within our
committee's jurisdiction. fortunately the last time we successfully authorized in 2013, i was glad with that one when senator crepo and i brought the bill through, we had students, individuals, lgbtq individuals and those in tribal land and it passed overwhelmingly. but those of us who our days as prosecutors saw what happened in violence against women, not a statistic but actually saw the victims and talked with the victims, those who were still alive and could talk. so i'm glad you're here. i think you would agree that it's important not only that we authorize or improve and strengthen the vawa. would you agree with that? >> i do, senator.
when you see the impacts of domestic consensual violence, we also know that one size doesn't fit all in the criminal justice system. i've been looking at things like restorative justice principles and practices, maybe they can help those in power. survivors have a voice shaped in the response, and it gives those in the community an opportunity to make sure those that caused the harm be accountable for their actions. i've been working with your justice department to establish the federally backed national center and restorative justice. i'm familiar with it because it's housed within the vermont law school.
the center receives additional funding from justice programs. another justice department we had earlier this year continued, and i appreciate that. both the house representatives and the white house have expressed support for continuing and expanding it as needed. so a long way around to come to the question. we have to reauthorize, we have to improve the existing law. i think utilizing restorative justice approaches is one of those necessary improvements. deputy attorney general monaco, we're working to finalize restorative justice language within the senate vawa legislation. will you support exploring restorative justice as another approach to reducing domestic consensual violence in our communities? >> yes, senator, and just to give you a sense of my thinking on this, i start from the
premise that the original violence against women act at its core was about improving responses, as we've talked about, improving responses to domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, sexual assault and improving the response of law enforcement in the courts. it had been treated as a private matter. we had to innovate and change our thinking. and as has been noted before earlier this morning, the hallmark of reauthorizations of vawa in the past has been filling gaps and innovating and improving and modernizing our services. what i have heard from advocates and from experts is that some survivors are reticent to seek help from the criminal justice system, and so they need other options. i think those options need to be evidence based, they need to be voluntary, but i think a hallmark of violence against women in the past and in the future ought to be being willing to study and innovate and be responsive to what we're seeing
on the ground. so, yes, senator, and i'm very pleased that ojp and the bureau of justice assistance has been able to fund the restorative justice system you mentioned in vermont. >> i appreciate that, and i have a feeling that at least the senate appropriations committee will make sure the money is there that you may need on this. you alluded to this now. i'll close with this. i think back on a distressed memory of a number of cases when i was a prosecutor when a victim of violence against women sometimes no longer alive would come forward. we would find this had been going on for some time and that person never felt they had a place they could go to report it. i have often said -- i was
distressed in my office of the state attorney to hear about it for the first time as we're ordering the autopsy. thank you. >> thank you, senator leahy. senator corwin. >> deputy attorney general monaco, thank you for being here today. i'm actually a little surprised to see you given the fact that you refused to attend the hearing where the heinous conduct of larry nassar was exposed again, and where even the fbi director personally apologized saying he was deeply and profoundly sorry to the victims of these repeated sexual assaults while they were olympic athletes. let me just ask you to respond to a statement that was reported in "the hill." this is by one of the witnesses there, former u.s. olympic
gymnast aly raceman. she attended a meeting that blumenthal held, and they had written you a letter asking questions, asking you to appear at a hearing we held a few weeks ago. but ms. raceman, a victim of repeated sexual assault by the team doctor, said the message by them not showing up says the child abuse doesn't matter. she's talking about the department of justice. she's talking about you. i think it's completely shocking and disturbing that they didn't think it was important. what's your response? >> senator, i think that the women who came and testified here last month are
exceptionally brave. their voices were powerful. their voices -- >> they're talking about you not showing up. and that it was essentially a disrespectful act which did not view the allegations that they have made against mr. nassar as sufficiently significant for the department of justice to actually show up for the hearing. >> i'm deeply and profoundly sorry for the fact that the victims and courageous survivors, both the women who testified last month and the scores, unfortunately, scores of other survivors of larry nassar did not receive -- >> why did you nor the attorney general show up at the hearing? >> sir, i think the committee, and i thank the committee for its work, was able to hear from director wray and the attorney general. >> don't you think you disrespect these victims of
sexual assault by ignoring dr. feinstein's letter or don't you think you owe them an apology for supervising the fbi, don't you think you showed disrespect by not showing? >> i meant no disrespect, and i'm here to ensure that the failures, the inexcusable failures, fundamental failures do not happen again. i welcome the committee's questions here today on that subject. >> you're about three weeks too late by my count. a lot of the initial failures of the fbi occurred in 2015. we're now in 2021. and despite the department of justice's refusal to act on the criminal referral by the inspector general, now you tell us six years later that the department of justice is
reviewing new information and has a sense of urgency and gravity over these potential criminal prosecutions. you know, i've been in washington long enough to know there is a difference between what people say and what they do, and when you're talking about a six-year delay between the time that the outcry of these victims of sexual assault is made and a six-year delay between then and now, it's pretty hard to understand or to believe that there is any sense of urgency or gravity on the part of the department of justice. what is the statute of limitations for lying to the fbi, or from some of the other potential criminal activities that have been charged by the inspector general in this case? >> i believe the statute of limitations will want to confirm for 1001, which i believe is the
statute you're referencing, is five years. >> so here we are six years later. isn't it likely that any criminal charges for lying to the fbi would be barred by the statute of limitations? >> senator cornyn, i really don't want to get into the specifics about what legal theories could be pursued, what evidence may be pursued -- >> i'm asking about the statute of limitations. you said it's five years for lying to the fbi. here we are six years later and the department of justice has done nothing. and you have the audacity to tell us that you are experiencing a sense of urgency and gravity over this. it's simply not credible. >> senator whitehouse. >> thank you. welcome, ms. monaco. it's nice having you back on the committee again. >> thank you, sir. >> we had another successfully brave and powerful witness with
allegations of sexual assault in this committee before the olympic athletes, and that was dr. christine blase ford. in response to that testimony, the republicans hired a prosecutor to try to punch holes in her testimony. and when that failed, it appears that the fbi tanked the background investigation. just for starters, is there any reason that sexual assault allegations should be taken less seriously in the context of a background investigation than in the context of a criminal investigation? >> sexual assault allegations should always be taken seriously, senator. >> and let me thank you for the trickle of information that has begun to flow about the fbi's conduct in that matter. as you know, director wray maintained a complete stonewall on information about that investigation during the trump administration while at the same time maintaining a fast lane for
fbi information related to the crossfire hurricane investigation. why there should be two different gates at the fbi for information related to these two investigations is something that we would like to try to understand further, and i hope you'll continue to cooperate in extracting from the fbi that we need to understand what took place. will you? >> we will, senator, and i'm pleased that the fbi has responded to i think your most recent letter on this matter, has offered a briefing on the matter, and you have my commitment we will continue to make sure we do our very best to answer your questions. >> so more generally, i have a letter that i would like to put into the record, mr. chairman, it's anonymized, which i think is appropriate from a victim of domestic violence, from
sojourner house, which provides housing so the victim can find a place to live while she or he works through all the changes in their lives dealing with that violence threat requires. i would like to put that on the record without objection. and relatedly, years ago, the last time i guess we authorized the vaw act, we got provincial action into it which provides funding to help kids, right? the woman is often the direct victim of that violence, but a child witnessing the violence can also affect them for a long time. can you speak, please, to the role of housing in providing adequate support for victims of domestic violence and the support that children, particularly very young children, need when they may not be the subject of the violence itself but they are nevertheless
witness to it and traumatized by that experience in their family? >> thank you, senator. i'm glad you highlighted this issue, because i think too often it's overlooked, the ripple effect from domestic violence. and as you rightly point out, the woman is often the direct victim, but it does ripple out. and, unfortunately, the most as a rule measurable, the children, are often in that wake and feeling those effects as acutely as the primary victim. towards that end, the violence against women act in its transitional housing program funds much needed, frankly, refuge for people fleeing domestic violence and violent situations. i think the latest figure i saw, senator, is some 2 million housing nights a year that the violence against women act's transitional housing program funds through its grant recipients. the president's budget request seeks additional funding, an
increase in that, and it's much needed. as i said, i heard directly from advocates in the last week just how much demand is outpacing supply. i think you've hit on a very critical issue and i look forward to working with the members of this committee to really making sure we address that issue of transitional housing and having a refuge for women and their children who are too often in the line of fire, so to speak, when it comes to domestic violence. >> last point in my 15 seconds remaining. i hope they will support the increase in the smart provincial funding related to child witnesses of domestic violence from 55 million to $45 million. it's hard when we're talking about 2 trillion here, 3 trillion there, that we're at that figure, but i hope the
house will support increasing that. >> senator cotton. >> ms. monaco, last week the national school board association wrote to president biden asking the administration to bring the full force and weight of the feds down onto parents who are protesting various school policies at school board meetings, including the indoctrination of children with an anti-american doctrine known as critical rice theory or protesting the requirement that children as young as two be required to wear masks. i think we can all agree that violence is not an acceptable form of political protest and violence can never be used to achieve policy or political goals. but that's not what the school board association letter focuses on. in fact, in one example of what the association thinks warrants federal criminal charges, they cite -- and this is a direct quote -- an individual who prompted a school board to call a recess because of opposition to critical race theory. a recess. the association is asking the administration to use the
patriot act, a law that this congress passed and has repeatedly reauthorized primarily to stop the threat of islamic jihadists, to bring criminal charges for domestic terrorism against parents who attend school boards to oppose things like critical race theories or mask mandates that result in a recess being called. miss monaco, is it domestic extremism for a parent to advocate for their child's best interests? >> senator, you readily point out that violence is not the answer. there can be very spirited public debate, and there should be very spirited public debate on a whole host of issues. but when that tips over into violence or threats, there is a rule for law enforcement. >> miss monaco, i'm sorry, my time is limited here, and i asked a simple yes or no question, and i have several to ask and i'd like a yes or no answer. is it domestic extremism for a parent to act on their child's
best interests? >> what you described, i would not describe as domestic extremism. >> is it domestic extreism for parents to have a say in what their child is taught in school? >> i think it's important, although not in my field at the justice department to opine on education. it's important for parents' voices to be heard. senator, i want to talk about what the attorney general did do in response to that, the issue of threats -- >> miss monaco, i want to get through my questions. i grant you that no one should threaten violence or use violence to try to achieve political or policy goals. for instance, they should not follow senators into the bathroom, violating state laws. nobody should ever use threats of violence or violence to achieve political goals. i'm asking very simple questions and trying to get to the bottom of what was on the attorney general's mind or the department's mind. is it domestic extremism for parents to oppose their children being taught differently because of race? >> the justice department's job, senator, is to apply facts to
law, not to opine on letters that are put forward or -- you know, i think it's very important for the justice department to -- >> miss monaco, it's a fact that the school board association just sent this letter to president biden, and then conveniently, the attorney general released his letter yesterday describing his series of measures to confront this grave and growing threat of parents protesting their kids being indoctrinated and the school board having to call a recess. is there any connection between those two things? >> i want to be very clear in the memorandum that's publicly available the attorney general issued talks about the importance of bringing federal, state, local law enforcement together to make sure that there is awareness of how to report threats that may occur, and to ensure that there is an open line of communication to address threats, to address violence, and to address law enforcement issues in that context, which is the job of the justice department, nothing more.
>> the united states just saw the largest single year increase in murders on record. has the attorney general issued a memorandum describing a special series of measures that the department of justice should take to try to address this record increase in murders? >> yes, indeed, senator. in fact, i issued a directive to the field earlier this year -- >> you did. as the attorney general? >> it was on behalf of the attorney general and the leadership department to address the alarming rise in violent crime and to lay out a strategy for violent crime reduction, which includes going after and using federal resources to target the most violent offenders, including those operating with guns, including those responsible for murders and violence in our communities. so absolutely we take the alarming rise in violent crime exceptionally seriously, and indeed i've heard, from the many hours i've spent with law enforcement leaders across this country, how urgently they feel
it is to address this rise in violent crime, and we are working every day to address that challenge. >> i just want to finish with one final question. did anyone at the fbi express disagreement or any reticence at all about investigating disagreements between parents and school boards over curriculums and school policies? >> i don't understand that to have been -- absolutely it was not the subject of the attorney general's memorandum, but the answer to your question is no. >> no one at the fbi expressed any reticence? >> i'm sorry, senator, if you're asking me what was the response to the attorney general's memorandum, i've heard no reticence, no concern. the job of u.s. attorneys and fbi special agents in charge are to be conveners in their community, address violence in their community, is the core job of the department. >> senator klobuchar, prior to
your arrival, we said good things about you and your work on vawa. >> better than bad things. thank you, mr. chairman, thank you for your leadership. i apologize for being late. we had an incredible hearing in the commerce committee on the whistleblower's allegations and statements about facebook. i was thinking as i sat there, despite all the hearings we've had in this community, it could be that one person will be the catalyst to finally passing bills not just in the privacy area which she herself said isn't enough, but in transparency for algorithms and also consolidation which was specifically mentioned with the dominant platforms. ms. monaco, i know we're going to have a confirmation hearing on your new nominee for antitrust, but i only lead with that because the violent content is part of this story as well. i would start with the fact that this has always been bipartisan reauthorization. so many times in the past this
bill is so important. in your view has the pandemic, where we saw in my own state, imminent partner violence rose more than 40% in 2020. has the pandemic increased the urgency to reauthorize vawa? >> absolutely it has, senator. i have been remarking this morning on my discussions with advocates and service providers, the people on the ground doing the work that is funded by the violence against women act. they have told me the demand for services is outpacing the ability to provide those services, and it's only become more so as a result of the covid-19 pandemic, which stands to reason. people are at home and really with their abuser in many respects, and that is a horrible situation that we need to rectify. >> okay. for many years i worked with
senator cornyn on the abby huddle act, something senator franken was involved in introducing, and this bill would encourage law enforcement's use of trauma-enforcing techniques to avoid retraumatizing the victim. can you speak to why it's important that law enforcement uses these types of techniques? this bill was actually included in the house past reauthorization of vawa. >> thank you, senator, and thank you for your leadership on that issue. it is such an exceptionally important part of the violence against women act and our approach to these issues, understanding from the survivor's perspective what they're going through when they are interviewed by law enforcement, when they interact with the court system, when they go to get their medical exam as a result of a sexual assault that they have suffered, making sure that at every step along the way, their individuals they're encountering understand the trauma that the victim and
survivor has encountered so that they can take appropriate steps, so they can recognize and have their services be, as we say, trauma informed, where the victim's experiences is at the center of the training that service providers provide. >> thank you. i want to move on to something really important to me, and that is the fact that every year more than 600 american women are killed with a gun by intimate partners, and half the women killed by intimate partners are killed by dating partners. when senator leahy was chairing this committee, we had a hearing on what's called the boyfriend loophole, which always sounds too positive to me, actually, for what it means, and a conservative witness actually involved the public witnesses, i remember senator grassley being at this hearing as well, supported changing this situation. as they said, dangerous boyfriends can be just as scary,
the sheriff from racine county in wisconsin said. husbands fire their gun with the same deadly force, yet federal law only prohibits domestic users from buying a gun if they are currently or formerly married or if they ever lived together or had a child with the victim. do you agree we should update the law in order to protect dating partners in the same way we protect married partners? >> absolutely, senator. the danger and the violence and the risk to the women who are suffering and who are killed, we know that women are more likely to be killed if the abuser has a gun. and it's no different if that abuser is in a dating relationship than if they are a spouse. >> i also note when the congress first took action to prohibit convicted domestic abusers, this was on a bipartisan basis, from buying or owning a gun, it applied to people who already had convictions on the books.
they didn't wipe the slate clean. do you agree that fully addressing the threat means abusive dating partners with prior domestic violence convictions should be prohibited from buying a gun? that's what's in the bill, by the way, that passed the house with dozens of republican votes. >> i think it's exceptionally important that we address this loophole. the individuals, as you said, are people who would be affected by this, are people who have been adjudicated or convicted and found to be guilty by a court. that's the issue we have to address, because failure to close this loophole is resulting in too many women dying. >> i really appreciate your leadership and your testimony today. thank you very much. >> thank you, senator. >> thank you, senator klobuchar. senator hawley? >> thank you, mr. chairman. ms. monaco, i want to come back to this extraordinary letter, this memorandum that the attorney general of the united states issued yesterday. practically every day brings new reports about this
administration weaponizing federal bureaucracy. for those of us who missed the mccarthy era, i guess this president is intent on bringing it to us but with new force, new power and new urgency unlike any we have ever seen. are you aware of any time in american history when the attorney general has ordered the fbi to attend local school board meetings? >> i'm not aware, and that is not going on. let me be clear. >> really, this isn't about local school board meetings? i thought that was in the memorandum. >> the memorandum is quite clear. it's one page. and it asks the u.s. attorney community and the fbi special agents in charge to convene state and local law enforcement partners to ensure that there is an open line of communication to address threats, to address violence, and that's the appropriate role of the department of justice, to make sure that we are addressing
criminal conduct and violence. >> at local school board meetings. let me just ask you this. are parents waiting sometimes for hours to speak at a local school board meeting to express concerns about critical race theory or the masking of their students, particularly young children, is that in and of itself harassment and intimidation? is waiting to express one's view at a school board meeting harassment and intimidation? >> as the attorney general's memorandum made quite clear, spirited debate is welcome, is the hallmark of this country. it's something we all should engage in and -- >> ms. monaco, with all due respect, it didn't make it quite clear. it didn't define those terms. nor does it define harassment or intimidation. it talks about violence. i think we can agree violence couldn't be condoned or looked aside from in any way, swept under the rug at all. but harassment and intimidation? what do those terms mean in the context of a local school board meeting? in the first amendment context
we talk about the chill, the chill to speech. if this isn't a deliberate attempt to chill parents from showing up at school board meetings for their elected school board, i don't know what is. i'm not aware of anything like this in american history. we're talking about the fbi. you're using the fbi to intervene in school board meetings. that's extraordinary. >> senator, i have to respectfully disagree. that is not what -- >> point me to an instance. >> the attorney general's memorandum made quite clear that violence is not appropriate. spirited public debate on a whole range of issues is absolutely what this country is all about. >> then why is it being investigated by the fbi? >> it is not. when and if any situation turns to violence, then that is the appropriate role of law enforcement to address it. >> the memorandum covers more than violence. it talks about intimidation, it
talks about harassment. i'm asking you to draw some lines. we do this all the time in this context. tell me where the line is with parents expressing their concerns, waiting for hours in these school board meetings. we've all seen the videos. this happened in my state. parents have waited for hours. sometimes the school board meetings have ended before they can speak because the school board doesn't want to hear it. and now parents are told that if they wait and express their views that they may be investigated for intimidation? >> i don't know who is telling them that, senator. the job of the justice department is to investigate crimes when and if a situation turns to violence. it's the job of the justice department and local law enforcement to address that. the attorney general's memorandum simply asks the u.s. attorney community, the fbi and their counterparts to ensure that state and local law enforcement has an open line of
communication to report threats, whether they happen in the context of election officials being threatened, whether they happen in the context of members of congress being threatened, which the fbi responds to on a regular basis, as is appropriate. the job of the justice department is to address criminal conduct. >> you know, all i can say is this is truly extraordinary. i think you know it is. it's unprecedented. you can't point to a single instance where anything like this has happened before, and i think parents across this country are going to be stunned to learn, stunned, that if they show up at a local school board meeting, by the way, where they have the right to appear and be heard, where they have the right to say something about their children's education, where they have the right to vote and you are attempting to intimidate them. you are attempting to silence them. you are attempting to interfere with their rights as parents, and yes, with their rights as voters. this is wrong, this is dangerous, and i cannot believe that an attorney general of the united states is engaging in
this kind of conduct. and, frankly, i can't believe that you are sitting here today defending it. i intend to get answers to these questions. you won't answer my questions, i'm going to get answers to these questions. mr. chairman, we need to have a hearing on this subject. we need to hear from the attorney general himself. he needs to come here, take the oath, sit there and answer questions. we have never seen anything like this before in our country's history, and frankly, i want to say i think it is a dangerous, dangerous precedent. >> this hearing on violence against women act will continue. senator coons? >> thank you, senator durbin. great to be with you. deputy attorney general monaco, i appreciate you appearing before us that is about the strengthening of violence against women act. an important law that you helped shape when it was first brault forward by then-senator biden in this committee. it's one of the most important pieces of legislation congress has passed in recent memory. it's improved and protected the lives of millions of americans and transformed the way that our
country and law enforcement advocates, victims, think about and respond to domestic violence. it's also been my view and testament to president biden's vision and character, someone who has had an intense to those who promote violence. i think it's more critical than ever that congress restrengthen and reauthorize this bill. let me ask you a few questions on that topic, if i might. gun violence is a pervasive and tragic and brutal part of gender-based violence. studies show domestic violence is five times more likely to be deadly if an abuser has access to a firearm. i was glad to see that the bipartisan house passed the authorization that would allow
them to tell an abuser when they failed a background check. it would require sharing between local and federal law enforcement when a person failed a firearm background check. would you agree that there have been individuals who tried and were denied a firearm makes the world safer? >> we need to make sure we have the methods in the system that people who are a risk cannot use a firearm in our communities. >> i play the role of the committee and for the implementation of vawa. the authorization levels haven't gone up as rapidly as the need, and i've heard from providers like the ywca and leaders in my
home state about how this makes a difference, the resources they receive through vawa. how can we continue to support non-profit organizations all over the country, an established network of providers and advocates and account for the extra need that the covid-19 pandemic has placed on them? >> well, senator, you've hit at the heart of the matter, which is the really dangerous increase and the need that survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, sexual assault have, and it's increased during the pandemic as we've observed. those who are stuck at home housed with their abuser are suffering and suffering sometimes in silence. so the simple answer to your question, senator, is reauthorizizing the violence against women act and doing so at the $1 billion levels that the president has requested in his fy22 budget request. it will provide much needed, and
indeed, urgent services to survivors, training to law enforcement so they respond, and when they do so, they've got the tools, the training they need not to retraumatize the survivors who they're encountering, and it will do the same with regard to court systems, increase rural funding for these same services. senator ernst rightly pointed out that we need to make sure rural communities get these services as well. the violence against women act does that. we need to refund those services as well. that's really what we need to be doing. >> i was glad this hearing began with a panel of three, senators responding to vawa and senator ernst talking about her own experience and now her engagement in advocacy. let me ask you a last question, if i might. many survivors of domestic violence struggle to find rental
housing. often they have poor credit or rental histories as a result of their abuse. how can congress make sure survivors don't face needless barriers to accessing affordable housing, which is one of the main reasons victims stay with their abusers, because they don't see how they can free their family from abuse. >> you're right, we need to make sure there is a refuge, a safe haven of women and children often fleeing an abuser and there needs to be a place for them to go. the traditional housing act that they fund and fund historically provides a million housing nights a year for that exact purpose, to give that safe haven. we need to reauthorize it and increase the funding to it. >> thank you, deputy attorney general. mr. chairman, can i ask for one minute of forbearance?
>> i guess. >> the senator who preceded me accused you of an unprecedented level of harassment of citizens at school board meetings. is there any foundation to this? >> no, sir. i just thought i would give you a chance to answer that. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. coons. senator tillis? >> thank you for holding this hearing and also ranking member grassley. i look forward to us moving ahead and providing more resources, more support to victims of domestic violence. i think the last 18 to 20 months, covid has not only taken lives as a result of the disease, but we've seen an increase in domestic violence and child abuse, so it's very timely we have this hearing and very important we make progress. i want to talk, ms. monaco, about some of the plumbing we should look at. we installed the plumbing back in 1994. we had a geo report in 2012 that
talked about the doj lacking visibility or the extent to which the programs overlap. i think in 2018, we had another inspector general report that 42% of vawa grants had not been closed on a tim timely basis. as we're looking ahead at maybe well-intentioned programs, but maybe they need to be repurposed, modernized, consolidated, do you have any thought of what needs to be done with the plumbing of vawa so we can get the help needed with what we've expressed here today? >> thank you, senator, and you're right to focus on the specks of how to make sure we're getting that funding out to the people who need it and how we make sure that we're using those dollars to their best effect. as you know, the violence against women act funds these
critical programs, and then recipients of those grants have to file regular financial reports and reports on the services they are providing. the fact that i could tell senator whitehouse that there are 2 million traditional housing nights a year about those grant fundings is because of those reports. i think we have to be exceptionally diligent with with how we're monitoring the use of those funds, and i'm confident we have the capability to do that. and i'm also pleased that we have been able to get out the funds for the violence against women act for the office of violence against women's 2021 funding that would have expired on september 30 of this year had we not gotten it all out the door to the people who needed it, and we've been able to do that and nearly half a billion dollars in those funds as of september 30th. >> thank you. i think as we go through this
process, it would be very important just to see how the administration of the program and the future oversight can be improved and modernized. we would appreciate that feedback. >> i'm happy to work with you, senator, on that, and i know this is an area of particular focus for you. >> thank you. also just kind of curious about doj audits on grantees and victims. can you give me an update on the auto process and how they are, generally speaking, to the outcomes? >> senator, as i said, the vawa programs themselves in violence against women does require regular reporting on the use of the funds, how those funds are being distributed, what services are happening as a result, and that's a very, very important part of the success of vawa, being able to see where dollars are effective and add to those, and where they're not, to look
at other innovative ways to expand and provide services. >> what about things that could help us as we move forward with authorization and modernization in the area of best practices? i went to a facility that just recently opened in western north carolina, which is extraordinary. they're a safe transition, their employment outcomes, they have to be in the top quartile, not the top decile. how could we better understand programs that seem to be working and really try to set that bar high? everybody is trying to do good, i understand that, but some programs are clearly producing better results than others. what information could we get from the doj to really instruct us on the kinds of things that we believe are leading edge and making sure that our resources are going to the ones that are producing the best results? >> well, first i'd say that i'd be happy to give you a more in-depth briefing about how we
identify the best programs and best practices. i view it as the job of the department of justice through the office of justice programs, violence against women office, the cops' office to basically be a force multiplier and an identifier of best practices, to lift those up and see where great, innovative work is being done in the states and local communities. that's what it's all about. the federal government absolutely doesn't have the best information on this. we need to identify the great work that is going on locally, fund it and then expand it and give it a broader audience. >> thank you very much. thank you, mr. chair. >> thank you, senator tillis. before i recognize senator hirono since it has been a recurring theme about the memorandum issued by the attorney general, i now have a copy of it in my hand and without objection, i'm going to
enter it into the record so everyone can read the actual words printed. the opening line says, in recent months there has been an increasing spike of harassment and violence against student board members, teachers, staff who participate in the violent work of running our nations' public schools. it goes on with more specifics on how the attorney general is looking to coordinate with local and state law enforcement for the protection of all school personnel. that is clearly the intent of this. those who believe that somehow or another violence or something close to it is a valid use of constitutional right, i couldn't disagree more. there are many who describe the january 6 occurrence here in the capitol as just a visit by ordinary tourists. for those of us who lived through it, know better. anyone who wants to characterize it as a normal constitutional
practice wasn't here or being honest, whether they said it publicly or were outside cheering the group on. i want to make a record of that, and i want to add the press release as well for the department of justice which goes into more detail on the subject. senator hirono, thank you so much for your patience. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you for clarifying what is actually in the memorandum that was issued by the attorney general yesterday. it's not surprising to me that lawyers on this committee don't seem to understand the legitimate exercise of first amendment rights and people who are threatening violence, and, in fact, who engage in assaults on people. so you would think that we would all be able to come together and pass vawa, and i thank you, ms. monaco, for your recent need to advance vaw and at an increased level because the need is definitely there. one group i wanted to call your
attention to is that there is an unfortunately high instance of intimate partner violence within the native hawaiian community, which as an indigenous community parallels the high incidence of domestic violence. as we move guard with combatting domestic violence, i would like to get your commitment to work with my office to address this disparity in native communities, because we can do a far better job in these communities. >> i absolutely agree, senator. it's one of the priorities laid out in my opening testimony is exactly this, making sure that we are addressing the underserved to include indigenous communities. >> thank you. and in particular, we need to fix vawa to ensure that native hawaiian organizations are eligible for funding from the office of violence against
women's tribal coalitions program. i hope that you'll give your support to that change. there is some discussion about how women in these situations don't have options and sometimes they will leave their job. we want to make sure these survivors have access to unemployment benefits, and that is an important aspect of what we need to do with the vawa legislation. wouldn't you agree? >> thank you, senator. i know that the office of adjustment programs is exploring how we can ensure that individuals have the assistance they need to be a bridge to get the services they need to get to. >> i think we need to view it as more than just the circumstances where someone loses a job or is
fired. we know that protecting immigrant survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking is particularly a concern for the immigrant community. can you talk about how important it is for vawa to be there for all survivors and also how it's been able to assist immigrant victims of violence? >> i think what's really important, senator, and you rightly point out that an individual shouldn't be held hostage by their abuser and they need to be able to seek immigration relief, as it were, on their own. and i think we'll see where the senate bill, what that yields, but i think it's something that we very much want to be supportive of, making sure that
an individual not have to rely on their abuser to file a petition for immigration status. >> i think immigrant women are particularly vulnerable, those who are undocumented. and immigration has become a very divisive issue and it is really important that we continue to provide these protections and services for immigrant women and for undocumented women in vawa. i ask for your continued support in that. mr. chairman, those are the questions i have for the moment. >> thanks, senator hirono. and once again thank you for waiting during this hearing. i want to thank smith and capito
for joining us today. statistics show that 20 women are violated every minute. that means in the course of this hearing, hundreds have experienced domestic violence. we reduced incidents of domestic violence and statistically improved support services, but there's still much more to do. i couldn't start to list the number and names of the organizations that provide services and support to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. many of them have submitted testimony for the record today, and without objection, their statements will be not only entered into the record but valued for their content. i look forward to introducing the violence against women reauthorization act with senators ernst and feinstein, many of our colleagues, quickly. we want to move on this. we need to get this bill to a president who is anxious to receive it as well and sign it into authorization. welcome back to the committee.
parents of children? >> i can give you a copy of the one-page memo. >> well,, i think that that is important to do. because the message that you are sending to parents, to individuals, is you take everything we say -- we are not going to be there to protect you. i think that that is a very dangerous place to be. and especially, you know, that is all about protecting young women. and girls. and showing respect for what they have endured. the way the fbi -- >> [indiscernible] >> yes. and then this memo -- it looks
as if you are second-guessing every parent about what is being taught. >> i hear you, but i would ask you to look at -- i can get you a copy right away. >> the memo is --i understand that. the fbi has no business doing this anyway. casting doubt on parents because they are going to question and try to make certain their children are being taught -- i just think -- >> the fbi is not doing that. the role of the justice department is to investigate -- violence. [indiscernible] >> parents. parents who are concerned about what their children are being taught. taught and not indoctrinated. thank you.
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