VAWA Reauthorization 2011

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.

VAWA is up for reauthorization. Recently, the National Coalition Against Domestic (NCADV) issued an action alert related to the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Reauthorization. In its action alert, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reminds us that the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is up for reauthorization in 2011. NCADV also reminds us that, “VAWA is a cost-effective, time-tested, constitutionally sound compendium of laws that guarantees equal protection to all victims seeking help under its auspices. Victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking look to Congress to keep this critical program going.”

The Violence Against Women Act has always had as its core mission to protect and serve ALL[i] victims of intimate partner violence and to tear down barriers that stand in the way of victim safety and access to justice.  Currently, S. 1925 has fifty-seven (57) Senate sponsors. In order to avoid a filibuster, NCADV is actively working to secure a total of sixty (60) sponsors by March 20, 2012.

As previously stated, VAWA was always intended to serve ALL survivors.  Every version of the bill since 1994 has worked to improve awareness about and expansion of prevention programs and the provision of services that included all victims of sexual, domestic, dating and stalking violence.  S. 1925 enhances protections for “underserved populations”[ii]. The Leahy/Crapo Bill (S.1925) continues this intent by offering a gateway for greater reach to all victims by: an improved definition of underserved; an enhanced underserved populations grant program; and specific supports throughout VAWA for underserved populations. When you talk with your Senators, please tell them to support S. 1925 because it opens doors for all victims.

NCADV’s suggested actions related to the reauthorization of VAWA for this week include:

1.   To secure a total of sixty (60) sponsors by March 20, 2012.   If your Senator is not a VAWA sponsor, call them at their Hill office, ask for the staff person who handles VAWA and offer to help them convince their Senator to sponsor S. 1925.

2.  Call and ask Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to schedule a vote on VAWA.

3.   Tweet about the importance of VAWA Reauthorization- Join the twitter carnival for #ReauthorizeVAWA on Wednesday, March 7th at 12pm EST, 11am CST, 10am MST, 9am PST.

Action 1:  If  your Senator is one of the forty-three (43) who are NOT sponsors of VAWA, call their office today (http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm) and ask them to co-sponsor S. 1925: When you call, tell your Senator that only S. 1925 represents real, critical, lifesaving protections for ALL victims and all other versions fall short. To assist you with preparation for the call to your elected officials’ office, you may want to read  NCADV’s talking points (http://4vawa.org/pages/s1925-is-the-real-vawa) about why S. 1925 is the only REAL VAWA. Additionally, it would be helpful to review the list of sponsors for the bill. To obtain the list of sponsors you can visit: http://thomas.loc.gov/home/thomas.php and type in the bill S.1925 for a list of sponsors and thank your Senator if he/she is already a co-sponsor.

NCADV suggested Senators who should be a VAWA sponsor: 

Former Sponsors of VAWA in the Senate

Six (6) Senators have been VAWA sponsors in the past.  NCADV posits that perhaps these former sponsors of VAWA  need to be persuaded to sponsor the bill again. These elected officials need to reminded that 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.  The following senators are former sponsors of VAWA and need to be called about sponsoring the reauthorization of VAWA: Cochran, Thad  (R – MS), Cornyn, John (R – TX), Grassley, Chuck (R – IA), Hatch, Orrin (R – UT), Hutchison, Kay Bailey (R – TX),  and Snowe, Olympia (R – ME).

Senators that expressed an interest in VAWA

It has been reported that there are Senators who have expressed interest in (or should care about) VAWA and some have been supportive of program funding and services in the past. Ask the following Senators to step up to this crisis and sponsor VAWA: Alexander, Lamar (R – TN), Ayotte, Kelly – (R – NH), Enzi, Michael (R – WY), Graham, Lindsey (R – SC), Heller, Dean (R – NV), Kyl, Jon – (R – AZ), and Lugar, Richard (R – IN).

Action 2: Call Senator Reid’s office with this message: “We need Senator Reid to continue to be our champion for the whole country. Thank you for cosponsoring the Violence Against Women Act.  Please schedule S. 1925 for a floor vote as soon as possible.”

If you are not from Nevada: 202-224-3542 (DC office)

If you are from Nevada: 775-686-5750 (Reno office)

Action 3: Participate in the #ReauthorizeVAWA Twitter Carnival on Wednesday, March 7th at 12pm EST, 11am CST, 10am MST, 9am PST. NCADV is seeking to make #ReauthorizeVAWA a trending topic on twitter. In order to do that NCADV needs a lot of people to tweet messages including the hashtag #ReauthorizeVAWA in a SHORT amount of time.

Here are some sample tweets proposed by NCADV:

We urge all Senators to support the real #VAWA that helps all victims- S. 1925. #ReauthorizeVAWA now! 4vawa.org.

Bring the real VAWA to the Senate floor for a vote NOW. #ReauthorizeVAWA now! 4vawa.org.

NCADV reminds us that, if we will not be in front of our computer(s) or hand-held(s) at noon that we can still send out the post on twitter at noon by signing up for http://www.hootsuite.com and scheduling your message to post on March 7 at noon (just make sure you’re time settings are for EST).  During the Twitter Carnival, NCADV encourages us to retweet and respond to the twitters of others – always including #ReauthorizeVAWA.

You can share with your friends on Facebook, or Tweet about the importance of VAWA’s Reauthorization. The most effective way to ensure that VAWA secures sixty sponsors is through conversations between friends and family. Would you take a minute and speak to a few people in your social networks whom you think would be willing to join in the effort to secure the reauthorization of VAWA?

Why am I asking? It’s simple. You know your friends better than I do. You know which of them are most passionate about this issue. And you’re the person who can best tell them why this issue is worth their time and energy.

So please share with your friends on Facebook,Twitter, WordPress, and Tumblr about the importance of VAWA Reauthorization– it won’t take long. Together, we can get VAWA reauthorized.

Source(s): NCADV Action Alert.
Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art

[i] S.1925 is no different, particularly when it comes to Native women.  S.1925 contains language that would remove some of the systemic barriers that prevent American Indian and Alaska Native victims from bringing their perpetrators to justice.  These tribal improvements included in VAWA are also contained within S. 1763, the Stand Against Violence & Empower Native Women Act (SAVE Native Women Act) and they are essential to the safety of Native women.

[ii] Underserved populations are those who are provided with inadequate or non-existent services.  Since 1994, VAWA has been about opening doors for all victims of sexual and domestic violence who have historically been ignored or provided with inadequate or substandard treatment and services – whether due to insufficient funds and scarce resources or discriminatory practices.

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