Domestic Violence

Throughout her service in the United States Senate, Senator Murray has stood with victims of domestic violence and their advocates. She has helped provide federal support for efforts in communities throughout our state and country. Senator Murray has focused on passing legislation, increasing funding, and raising awareness.

Not long ago, domestic violence was considered a “family problem.” It was something people didn't talk about, which made it difficult for victims to seek help. It prevented friends and neighbors from getting involved in what was considered “someone else's business.”

In 1994, attitudes started to change, thanks in part to passage of the historic Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which Senator Murray proudly helped draft and pass.
Senator Murray has also played a major role as VAWA has been reauthorized (updated) twice since.


VAWA - for the first time:

  • Recognized domestic violence as a violent crime and a national public health crisis.
  • Laid out a coordinated strategy to bring advocates, shelters, prosecutors, and law enforcement professionals together to fight domestic violence.

Each year, Senator Murray fights to strengthen VAWA programs, to increase funding, and to help raise awareness.  In addition she has introduced legislation, the Survivors’ Empowerment and Economic Security Act, which addresses the economic barriers that trap victims in abusive relationships. This bill:

  • Allows victims to take time off from work without penalty in order to make court appearances, seek legal assistance, and get help with safety planning.
  • Allows victims in every state access to unemployment benefits if they are fired or forced to leave their job because of abuse.
  • Prohibits discrimination in employment and insurance based on domestic or sexual violence, to ensure that victims are never punished for their abusers' crimes.
  • Strengthens the Family Violence Option in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program (TANF), in order to protect some of the most economically vulnerable victims.