Archive | May 18, 2012

U.S. Congress Passes the Adams Anti-Victim VAWA Bill, H.R. 4970

Do our elected officials in Washington, DC, care about the health and well-being of all victims of domestic violence?  Answer: many of the U.S. House of Representatives members apparently do not care about all victims of domestic violence as demonstrated in the passage of HR 4970. Yesterday, the House of Representatives voted 222-205 to pass H.R. 4970, a bill to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), introduced by Rep. Sandy Adams (R-Florida, 24th).  It is clear from the passage of H.R. 4970 that immigrant victims of domestic violence need our help to ensure that they are protected under the law. Today is a day for champions—a day to call on national leaders to commit to ensuring all victims of domestic violence are protected.

As the House debated H.R. 4970, Representative Conyers pointed out that 350 organizations, including law enforcement, prosecution, and victim services programs, wrote to Congress to say they opposed H.R. 4970, because it rolled back protections for victims.  Mr. Conyers then asked Representative Adams, the author of the bill, which organizations supported H.R. 4970.  When she was unable to identify any organization that supported her bill, Mr. Conyers again said that three hundred fifty (350) organizations opposed the bill. In response, Ms. Adams said, “Shame on them!” Do you agree we should be ashamed for standing up for victims?

Originally enacted in 1994, VAWA provides federal funding toward the prosecution of violent crimes against women and includes provisions for undocumented immigrant women. The vital protections for immigrant women in the Senate version of VAWA are removed from the Adams-Foxx-Cantor bill passed by the House. In fact, the Adams-Foxx-Cantor proposal (H.R. 4970) gives abusers more power, not less, over their victims.

H.R. 4970 (Adams-Foxx-Cantor bill) requires survivors of domestic violence and other crimes to be interviewed by local immigration offices not specifically trained in victim issues.

H.R. 4970 (Adams-Foxx-Cantor bill) requires women to report abuses within 60 days, placing further restrictions on women who have limited access to services, fear law enforcement, or may have language barriers to report the crimes committed against them.

Our voices need to be heard on how the House and Senate must work together to reconcile differences between S. 1925 and H.R. 4970. Our goal is to ensure that the final bill that gets sent to President Obama for enactment protects all victims and holds all perpetrators accountable—regardless of race, nationality, ethnicity, religion, immigrant status, or sexual orientation.

ACTION: Call/Write/Tweet your Representative and say “Thank You” or “Shame on You”: Let your Representative know that you are proud to stand with victims and and think this bill is incredibly dangerous.

Please call your US Senator now at 877-698-8228. If the line is busy, please redial and call again. Please let your elected officials in Washington know that you care about all victims of domestic violence.

We can only make a difference when we take action. “You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result. ~ Gandhi

Don’t miss your chance to make an impact, dial 877-698-8228 now!

Source(s):  National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art