Scott, Bonamici Ask GAO to Examine Access to Support for People with Disabilities Experiencing Domestic Violence

WASHINGTON – Today, Education and Labor Committee Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) and Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Services Chair Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01) sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) requesting the agency examine the accessibility of federal resources for people with disabilities experiencing domestic violence.

In the letter, the Members note that one in three adults, including those with disabilities, have experienced domestic violence, and individuals with disabilities are victims of sexual assault at rates more than seven times those for people without disabilities. The Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Health and Human Services (HHS) have several efforts underway to help people experiencing domestic violence and their children. However, when seeking out these programs, victims with disabilities often face a number of physical, informational, and programmatic barriers.

“The federal government should do everything it can to assist residential programs to reach out and serve people with disabilities who are experiencing domestic violence,” the Members wrote. “We therefore request that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) examine this issue…”

The primary federal funding stream to help victims of domestic violence and their children is HHS’ Family Violence Prevention and Services Program, which administers the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA). As part of their request, the Members ask GAO to examine, among other issues, the experiences of individuals with disabilities seeking FVPSA-funded services, to what extent HHS oversees residential domestic violence programs, and how these programs have taken action to address the disparities in access for individuals with disabilities. 

To read the full letter, click here.



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