Violence Against Women Act Reintroduced

Violence Against Women Act Reintroduced

Today in Washington, a bipartisan group of Senators announced the re-introduction of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Reauthorization. Led by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the senators spoke of how violence against women had touched them and their states personally.

Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Kelly Ayotte (R- NH) both mentioned that half of all homicides in their states were related to domestic violence. Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID), the lead republican, pointed out that there had already been four domestic violence murders in Idaho just this month. Senators Klobuchar (D-MN) and Murray (D-WA) highlighted the importance of meeting the needs of all victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, as well as other updates included in the reauthorization such as better addressing cyber-stalking and youth dating violence. Senator Leahy is fast-tracking the bill directly to the floor so it may be voted on quickly.

“We’re calling on the Senate to quickly pass the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization so it can move to the House expeditiously,” said Futures Director of Policy Kiersten Stewart. “We greatly appreciate the commitment of the group of bipartisan Senators who are making the Violence Against Women Act a priority.”

Futures is proud to have played an instrumental role in developing the landmark Violence Against Women Act passed in 1994, which has been a game-changing piece of legislation ever since. Below, we’ve highlighted a few of the Act’s many accomplishments over the past 18 years:

  • Domestic violence for adult women is down 60% since 1994. It is impossible to overstate the importance of this decrease. In addition to the lives lost and injuries sustained, the high costs of domestic violence—extending from public and mental health to lost productivity and beyond—are well documented. Any decrease in domestic violence will therefore benefit everyone in society.
  • The number of intimate partner deaths has decreased 34% for women and 57% for men. VAWA helps the justice system keep victims safe by ensuring recognition of victims’ protection orders in all jurisdictions of the United States as well as increasing rates of prosecution, conviction and sentencing for offenders.
  • All states have passed laws that take rape seriously. Whereas previously spousal and date rape were considered less serious crimes than stranger rape, new, stronger laws have been passed that redress this.
  • VAWA saves money. VAWA saves the taxpayers money by reducing the monetary costs associated with domestic violence. In its first six years, VAWA saved American taxpayers at least $14.8 billion dollars in net averted social costs.
  • VAWA makes the judicial system works for victims. A federal “rape shield law” prevents victims’ past sexual conduct from being used against them in a rape trial, and every year 500,000 members of the law enforcement and legal communities receive domestic violence training with VAWA funding.

For more information about the Violence Against Women act, click here.

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