Bill to Strengthen Protections for Women and Children in Central America Advances in the House

September 24, 2021

Washington, DC—Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) welcomes the inclusion of the bi-partisan Central American Women and Children Protection Act (CAWCPA) in the 2022 National Defense Reauthorization Act (NDAA), passed yesterday by the House of Representatives. This is a step that recognizes the urgent need to prioritize gender-based violence against children and women in Central America as one of the primary drivers that compels thousands to flee their homes, communities, and countries.

“KIND’s child clients recount horrific experiences of gender-based violence in their home countries in Central America, events that traumatize these children and often force them to migrate alone in search of safety,” said KIND President Wendy Young. “Without adequate resources and specific policies to address this violence, children will continue to lack the protections they deserve and be forced to flee for their lives. Inclusion of the CAWCPA in the NDAA demonstrates the U.S. commitment to prioritizing gender-based violence as it works to address the root causes of child migration. Importantly, it puts us a step closer to keeping these kids safe.”

The CAWCPA, which KIND endorsed in July, focuses on El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras—countries with among the highest rates of gender-based violence against women and children in the world. The bill would authorize critical funding and require specific plans to prevent violence and provide meaningful support to survivors so they feel safer in their communities.

The bill would require actions to:

  • Strengthen the criminal justice systems and civil protection courts to better serve survivors of gender-based violence
  • Secure, create and sustain safe communities by providing civil society partners with the resources needed to assist vulnerable families
  • Ensure the safety of children in schools and promote the prevention and early detection of gender-based violence, including domestic violence, within communities, and increase access to high quality health care, psychosocial support, and dedicated shelters for survivors of gender-based violence.

“KIND applauds the leadership of House Democrats and Republicans in prioritizing gender-based violence prevention for Central American and urges the Senate’s support when they consider the NDAA next month.”


Media Contact: Megan McKenna,, 202-631-9990