One result of the government shutdown: The Violence Against Women Act has expired

Suzanne Kreiter/Globe Staff

When the federal government partially shut down over the weekend, a number of federally-run programs and sites went quiet, on furlough until Congress decides how to pay the nation’s bills.

Programs funded by the Violence Against Women Act were among those without money Saturday morning when the federal impasse over President Trump’s demand for border wall funding came to head.

The landmark 1994 law, which helps support victims of sexual assault, domestic abuse, and stalking, expired when Trump refused to sign a House- and Senate-approved appropriations bill that included a short-term extension of the law.


Several Massachusetts representatives blamed Trump and the Republican Party for allowing the law to expire.

Senator Elizabeth Warren suggested that Trump would rather shut down the government over a border wall than help victims of sexual assault.

Representative Joe Kennedy III called the expiration of the law “shameful” in a tweet late Friday.

The spending bill passed by the House and the Senate last week would have extended the Violence Against Women Act through Feb. 8. The law was due to expire both Sept. 30 and Dec. 7 but was extended both times when included in continuing resolutions to avoid a government shutdown.

Texas Representative Sheila Jackson Lee had introduced a full reauthorization of the law in July but the bill had not come to the full House for a vote.

Now, the lack of a current spending bill has cut off Justice Department funds that support the programs established by the law.

Trump had threatened last week that he would “take the mantle” of shutting the government down over border security during an Oval Office meeting with Representative Nancy Pelosi, Senator Chuck Schumer, and Vice President Mike Pence.

When funded, the Violence Against Women Act provides a range of support for domestic violence victims, law enforcement training, and also prompted the creation of the National Domestic Violence Hotline. According to a 2017 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than half of murdered women in America are killed in connection with intimate partner violence.


Peter Bailey-Wells can be reached at peter.bailey-wells@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @pbaileywells.