Quigley VAWA Amendment to Examine Substance Abuse Approved by House
Today, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously approved an amendment authored by U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05) to require a review of the relationship between survival of domestic violence and the development of a substance use disorder. U.S. Representative Kendra Horn (OK-05) spoke from the floor of the House in support of the amendment. Quigley’s initiative was offered as an amendment to the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2019.
Quigley also spoke from the floor of the House saying, in part, “Social stigma silences both domestic violence survivors and those suffering from substance use disorders. We cannot allow survivors to be silenced any longer. To reduce stigma, we must talk about these issues, better educate ourselves on the struggles of those living with them, and let survivors know that they are not alone.”
Although there is evidence that survivors of domestic violence are more likely to develop a substance use disorder, there has not yet been a comprehensive review of the data. If a connection is found, the information would help providers prevent domestic violence survivors from developing a substance use disorder and enable survivors to access preventative services.
“This information is critical if we are going to make smart policy,” Congresswoman Horn said. “We must understand the nature and impact of trauma to best serve those who have suffered.”
Video of Quigley’s remarks is available here and his remarks as prepared for delivery are below.
This is a straight forward, common-sense amendment that does not affect direct spending or revenues.
My amendment requires the Secretary of HHS to complete a review of the relationship between survival of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking and the likelihood of developing a substance use disorder.
This information is vital because we know traumatic experiences, such as domestic violence, are associated with behavioral health conditions.
And we know that behavioral health conditions are associated with substance use disorders.
And we know that substance use is linked to traumatic experiences.
What we don’t know, however, is if survivors of domestic violence have an increased likelihood of developing a substance use disorder.
Although the evidence exists, we have yet to conduct a comprehensive review of the data to make the connection.
It is important to understand the nature and impact of trauma to effectively serve those who have suffered.
If the review indicates a connection, it would help providers prevent domestic violence survivors from developing a substance use disorder and enable survivors to access preventative and more comprehensive services.
This review will also give us a better understanding of the broader impacts and effects of trauma on survivors.
Social stigma silences both domestic violence survivors and those suffering from substance use disorders.
We cannot allow survivors to be silenced any longer.
To reduce stigma, we must talk about these issues, better educate ourselves on the struggles of those living with them, and let survivors know that they are not alone.
By acknowledging that there might be a connection between domestic violence survival and substance use disorders, we can begin the conversation and let victims know that we are willing and able to support them through their recovery.
Congress has a responsibility to victims and survivors.
This amendment, and more broadly, this bill, is one step toward fulfilling that responsibility.
Reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act reaffirms and expands protections for women everywhere.
It improves services available to survivors, empowers local law enforcement to protect their communities, prevents stalkers and abusers from obtaining firearms, and strengthens protections against discrimination in housing and the workplace.
Because everyone, everywhere deserves to live a life free from abuse.
I urge my colleagues to support my amendment, so we can better protect and treat those who have already experienced unspeakable suffering, and to support the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.