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Senators Collins, Shaheen Introduce International Violence Against Women Act

Washington, D.C. - Today, U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) reintroduced the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA), bipartisan legislation that would ensure combatting gender-based violence around the world remains a top diplomatic and development priority for the United States.

“Our legislation will ensure that the U.S. continues to take a leadership role in combatting violence against women and girls around the world. In addition to being a pressing human rights issue, such violence contributes to inequality and political instability, making it a security issue as well as a moral issue for us all,” said Senator Collins. “I am committed to continuing to work with my colleagues to end violence against women and girls and to provide the assistance and resources necessary to achieve this goal.”


"One in three women and girls around the world will report experiencing gender-based violence in their lifetimes,” said Senator Shaheen. “By denying women and girls the chance to rise to their full potential, gender-based violence stunts economic, political and social progress in our communities. While we have made important progress since the first U.S. Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-based Violence Globally was implemented in 2012, combatting gender-based violence must remain a cornerstone of U.S. efforts to empower women and girls. This not only means stopping sexual abuse and trafficking, domestic violence, early and forced marriages and other forms of gender-based violence, but also changing societal views and norms in places around the world where women and girls are not agents of their own future.”

Specifically, the International Violence Against Women Act would:


  • Require the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to develop and implement a U.S. global strategy to prevent and respond to gender-based violence. Additionally, the State Department and USAID would be responsible for identifying four eligible low and lower-middle income countries for which comprehensive, individual country plans will be developed.
  • Permanently authorize the State Department Office of Global Women’s Issues and the Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues to head that Office. 
  • Permanently authorize the USAID Senior Coordinator for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment.
  • Require interagency coordination, monitoring and evaluation of programs and regular briefings to Congress.

Over 50 humanitarian, faith-based, human rights, refugee and women’s organizations voiced their support for the International Violence Against Women Act, including: American Jewish World Service, Amnesty International USA, CARE USA, Church World Service, Futures Without Violence, Human Rights Watch, International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), National Organization for Women, UNICEF USA, Vital Voices Global Partnership, Women Thrive Alliance, Women's Refugee Commission and World Vision.