Violence Against Women Act Reintroduced
Dec 1, 2011
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Pat Leahy (D-Vermont) and Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) have introduced bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), first championed in 1994 by then-Senator Biden. VAWA transformed the nation’s response to domestic violence and sexual assault, providing funding to states and local communities to develop specialized law enforcement units, provide services to victims, and improve prosecution of these crimes.
“The good news is that the rate of domestic violence in the US has dropped more than 50 percent since the passage of VAWA,” says Esta Soler, President of Futures Without Violence, who played an instrumental role in shaping the original legislation. “But we haven’t done enough for our young people. Women between the ages of 16-24 suffer from the highest rates of dating violence and sexual assault. Not only must we develop programs that intervene and treat them, but we need to address preventive strategies as well."
While tremendous progress has been made, violence is still a significant problem facing women, men, families, and communities. Three women die every day at the hands of husbands or boyfriends. Domestic violence causes two million injuries a year to women and untold amounts of human suffering. Domestic violence shelters are still full, hotlines are ringing, and for every victim who has come forward, many more are suffering alone.
VAWA helps states and local communities maintain basic services for victims while strengthening the criminal justice system’s response to these crimes. For more information on how VAWA impacts violence prevention programs, as well as the health care response to domestic violence, check out these key resources:
*** We've prepared a VAWA Toolkit that offers ideas for communicating the importance of this bill to legislators policy makers, media and even friends who want to make sure that we continue to support the people and programs who are working to end domestic violence. Your Facebook posts and Tweets will also keep this important legislation at the top of policymakers' minds and agendas. ****