Help Keep Communities Safe While Supporting Victims

Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women – more than car accidents, muggings, and rape combined. And studies suggest that up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic abuse annually. Everyone has a right to be safe. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) gives law enforcement, prosecutors and judges the resources they need to hold offenders accountable, keeps communities safe while supporting victims, and provides critical funding for prevention and education.

“The Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA) is a United States federal law. It was passed as Title IV, sec. 40001-40703 of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, H.R. 3355, and signed as Pub.L. 103-322 by President Bill Clinton on September 13, 1994. It provided $1.6 billion to enhance investigation and prosecution of violent crimes perpetrated against women, imposed automatic and mandatory restitution on those convicted, and allowed civil redress in cases prosecutors chose to leave unprosecuted.”

“VAWA was drafted by then U.S. Senator Joseph R. Biden‘s office with support from a number of advocacy organizations including the National Network to End Domestic Violence, the Texas Council on Family Violence, Futures Without Violence, National Coalition Against Sexual Assault, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Legal Momentum and The National Organization for Women, which described the bill as “the greatest breakthrough in civil rights for women in nearly two decades.”[1]

The New York Times editorial on Friday, February 10, 2012 on the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) indicated that the Act is now a political football for Republican Senators who are dragging their feet on its reauthorization.

As indicated in the action alert by Futures Without Violence, it is important to note that the Violence Against Women Act gives law enforcement, prosecutors and judges the resources they need to hold offenders accountable, keeps communities safe while supporting victims, and provides critical funding for prevention and education.  It is absolutely essential to the work we do.

You can help hold batters accountable and keep victims of domestic violence. With that said, call the Senators listed below and send the message that VAWA is not a political football. There are several prior sponsors who are not on board yet.

Futures Without Violence prepared a quick and easy way to write to your Senators about S. 1925 (VAWA):http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm. And here’s suggested text by Futures Without Violence for your note:

“Dear Senator _____________,

VAWA reauthorization legislation, S. 1925 by Senators Leahy and Crapo, was developed with the input of advocates from around the country  and addresses the real and most important needs of victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking. It also invests in small prevention programs to stop the lifetime cycle of abuse and engages more stakeholders in the work to prevent and respond to violence. It is responsive, streamlined, and constitutionally and fiscally sound, while providing strong accountability measures and appropriate federal government oversight.   This legislation represents our voices—the voices of victims and advocates. I ask you to wholeheartedly support the swift passage of S. 1925.”

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s most recent action alert,

“There are 10 Senators who have been VAWA sponsors in the past. Maybe they just need to be reminded and for sure they need to be persuaded. VAWA programs and services are under-funded and under attack. It’s time to step up for victims of sexual assault and dating, domestic and stalking violence. Please reach out to these Senators and their staff today: Carper, Thomas (D – DE), Cochran, Thad (R – MS), Cornyn, John (R – TX), Grassley, Chuck (R – IA), Hatch, Orrin (R – UT), Hutchison, Kay Bailey (R – TX), Inouye, Daniel (D – HI) , Nelson, Bill (D – FL), Pryor, Mark (D – AR), Snowe, Olympia (R – ME).”

“There are 4 new Senators who OUGHT to be sponsors of VAWA. Talk to them and their staff and tell them about how VAWA has helped promote awareness and support services and needs them to be champions – and sponsors! Please contact them today: Brown, Sherrod (D – OH), Merkley, Jeff (D – OR), Udall, Mark (D – CO), Warner, Mark (D – VA)”

“There are 9 Senators who have expressed interest in VAWA and have been supportive of program funding and services in the past. Ask them to step up to this crisis. Alexander, Lamar (R – TN),Coburn, Tom (R – OK), Enzi, Michael (R – WY), Graham, Lindsey (R – SC), Heller, Dean (R – NV), Kyl, Jon – (R – AZ), Lee, Mike (R – UT), Lugar, Richard (R – IN), Manchin, Joe (D – WV)”

NCADV also reminded us to thank all the Senators who have signed on to support the Reauthorization of VAWA they are as follows: Leahy, Patrick J. (D – VT), Akaka, Daniel K. (D – HI), Baucus, Max (D – MT), Begich, Mark (D – AK), Bennet, Michael F. (D – CO), Bingaman, Jeff (D – NM), Blumenthal, Richard (D – CT), Boxer, Barbara (D – CA), Brown, Scott P. (R – MA), Cantwell, Maria (D – WA), Cardin, Benjamin L. (D – MD), Casey, Robert P., Jr. (D – PA), Collins, Susan M. (R – ME), Conrad, Kent (D – ND), Coons, Christopher A. (D – DE), Crapo, Mike (R – ID),Durbin, Richard J. (D – IL), Feinstein, Dianne (D – CA), Franken, Al (D – MN), Gillibrand, Kirsten E. (D – NY), Hagan, Kay R. (D – NC), Harkin, Tom (D – IA), Johnson, Tim (D – SD), Kerry, John F. (D – MA), Kirk, Mark (R – IL), Klobuchar, Amy (D – MN), Kohl, Herb (D – WI), Landrieu, Mary L. (D – LA), Lautenberg, Frank R. (D – NJ), Levin, Carl (D – MI), Lieberman, Joseph I. (ID – CT), Menendez, Robert (D – NJ), Mikulski, Barbara A. (D – MD), Murkowski, Lisa (R – AK), Murray, Patty (D – WA), Reed, Jack (D – RI), Rockefeller, John – (D – WV), Sanders, Bernard (I – VT), Schumer, Charles E. (D – NY), Shaheen, Jeanne (D – NH), Stabenow, Debbie (D – MI), Tester, Jon (D – MT), Whitehouse, Sheldon (D – RI), Wyden, Ron (D – OR)

As the NCADV so aptly stated in its action alert, we can still help even if you don’t live in any of the target states. Share the 4vawa.org site with your friends and family who live in these target states, and ask them to contact their Senators.

Together we can Reauthorize VAWA!

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