Violence Against Women Act Action in the Senate

woman with cellphone

Not all homes provide a safe haven. For the victims of domestic violence, home is a place where hearts and lives are broken. Family violence spares no one. The partner who is battered and the children who watch, or who themselves may be abused, all suffer. Their physical and emotional pain is long-lasting.

Domestic violence continues to pose a clear and present danger to the health and well-being of women. For far too many women violence and danger are their constant companions. Yet, domestic violence is a subject that we, as a society, are reluctant to talk about. As a result, victims often suffer and die in silence. And despite the intense media attention recently focused on a few high profile courtroom cases, the public remains largely uninformed about the nature and warning signs of domestic violence.

Until recently, domestic violence was viewed as a “private family matter” as opposed to a crime against society with potentially lethal consequences. Increasingly our public institutions—law enforcement, the courts, policy makers, health care providers, and social service providers—are recognizing incidents of domestic violence as violent criminal acts with devastating consequences for individual victims, their children, and the community, and are seeking effective methods for dealing with this pressing public health issue. Community support and involvement are integral parts of domestic violence prevention and intervention.

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) has provided funding for much needed supportive programs for victims of domestic violence. The National Task to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women in its recent action alert reminds us that the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is before the Senate. This week’s action alert requests that we call our Senators to urge them to: 1) pass VAWA; and 2) to vote against any weakening or non-germane amendments.

GOAL: Pass VAWA in the Senate this week!


S. 47, a strong, bipartisan bill – with 61 sponsors – that would reauthorize the landmark Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), sponsored by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Michael Crapo (R-ID) is headed to the Senate floor for debate TODAY and a vote on final passage could occur as early as THURSDAY! This bill is very similar to the bipartisan legislation introduced by Senators Leahy and Crapo last Congress and would improve VAWA programs and strengthen protections for all victims of violence.

With 61 sponsors, victory is in sight. In anticipation of the impending vote, we need you to take action TODAY by contacting your Senators and ask them to vote YES on S. 47. We also need to remind Senators If you do not see your Senator on the list of co-sponsors below, call the Capitol switchboard at 202) 224-3121 and ask the operator to connect you to your Senators. If you do not know who your Senators are, you can look them up here ( When you’re connected to their offices, ask to speak to the staff person who handles VAWA.

If your Senator is already cosponsoring, tell or leave a message for the staff person:
1) I am a constituent from (city and state) and my name is _________.
2) I want to thank Senator____ for co-sponsoring S. 47, a strong, bipartisan bill that would reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, and voting YES on the bill. Please urge Senator _____________ to follow Senator Leahy’s lead and vote NO on any weakening or non-germane amendments.

If your Senator is NOT already cosponsoring, tell or leave a message for the staff person:
1) I am a constituent from (city and state) and my name is _________.
2) I urge Senator____ to co-sponsor S. 47, a strong, bipartisan bill that would reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, and to vote YES on the bill and vote NO on any weakening or non-germane amendments.
3) Thank you and I look forward to hearing that the Senator is a co-sponsor and/or voted for VAWA without harmful amendments.

Thus far, the bill has the following sponsors: Senators Ayotte, Kelly (R-NH), Baldwin, Tammy (D-WI), Baucus, Max (D-MT) , Begich, Mark (D-AK), Bennet, Michael (D-CO), Blumenthal, Richard (D-CT), Boxer, Barbara (D-CA), Brown, Sherrod (D-OH), Cantwell, Maria (D-WA), Cardin, Benjamin (D-MD), Carper, Thomas (D-DE) Casey, Robert (D-PA), Collins, Susan (R-ME), Coons, Chris (D-DE), Crapo, Mike (R-ID), Donnelly, Joe (D-IN) Durbin, Richard (D-IL), Feinstein, Dianne (D-CA), Franken, Al (D-MN), Gillibrand, Kirsten (D-NY), Hagan, Kay (D-NC), Harkin, Tom (D-IA), Heinrich, Martin (D-NM), Heitkamp, Heidi (D-ND), Heller, Dean (R-NV), Hirono, Mazie (D-HI), Johnson, Tim (D – SD), Kaine, Tim (D-VA) King, Angus (I-ME), Kirk, Mark (R-IL), Klobuchar, Amy (D-MN), Landrieu, Mary (D-LA), Lautenberg, Frank R. (D-NJ) Leahy, Patrick (D-VT), Levin, Carl (D-MI) McCaskill, Claire (D-MO), Manchin, Joe (D-WV) ,Menendez, Robert (D-NJ), Merkley, Jeff (D-OR), Mikulski, Barbara (D-MD), Moran, Jerry (R-KS), Murkowski, Lisa (R-AK), Murphy, Christopher (D-CT) Murray, Patty (D-WA), Nelson, Bill (D-FL) Pryor, Mark (D-AR), Reed, Jack (D-RI), Reid, Harry (D-NV), Rockefeller, John D (D-WV), Sanders, Bernard (I-VT), Schatz, Brian (D-HI) Schumer, Charles (D-NY), Shaheen, Jeanne (D-NH), Stabenow, Debbie (D-MI), Tester, Jon (D-MT), Udall, Mark (D-CO), Udall, Tom (D-NM), Warner, Mark (D-VA), Warren, Elizabeth (D-MA), Whitehouse, Sheldon (D-RI), Wyden, Ron (D-OR).

Please thank these Senators for their early support of the Violence Against Women Act.
Potential Sponsors of S. 47
Fischer, Deb – (R – NE) The only woman Senator, out of 20, who has yet to sponsor VAWA
Alexander, Lamar – (R – TN)
Coats, Daniel – (R – IN)
Corker, Bob (R-TN)
Hoeven, John – (R – ND)
McCain, John – (R – AZ)
Portman, Rob – (R – OH)
Vitter, David – (R – LA)
Cornyn, John – (R – TX)
Enzi, Michael B. – (R – WY)
Graham, Lindsey – (R – SC)
Grassley, Chuck – (R – IA)
Hatch, Orrin G. – (R – UT)
Rubio, Marco – (R – FL)
Toomey, Patrick J. – (R – PA)
–Voted for VAWA 2012

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. Since its enactment in 1994, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) has saved lives and saved money.

Urge your senators to cosponsor VAWA and move this bill forward. With an equal amount of conscience, mind, heart, and collective action, we can end violence against women. In 2013, each of us should commit ourselves to halting violence within our homes, our communities, and our nation—toward that goal, contact your federal elected officials about co-sponsoring the Violence Against Women Act.

Source(s): National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women Action Alert; National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV); American Association of University Women (AAUW). CDC.

Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art

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