Urge Your Senators to Support Reauthorization of VAWA, as amended by the End Abuse Later in Life Act
JSPAN strongly supports reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, S 1925 (VAWA), as amended by the End Abuse Later in Life Act, which expired in 2011. We encourage our members and others to contact their Senators and urge support for this critical bill. Now is the time for Congress to again demonstrate its commitment to the victims and survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking and elder abuse voting to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.
In 1994, when first authorized, VAWA was a giant step forward for the county. Its passage meant that our federal government finally acknowledged that domestic and sexual violence cause tremendous harm to our society, and invested real resources into helping victims and survivors. Millions of people, including children and families, are better off as a result. This historic measure increased options for victims and enabled many survivors to leave abusive relationships. It also improved the criminal justice system’s response to violence by training police and prosecutors to respond more effectively.
In 2000, Congress reauthorized VAWA, continuing this essential work and adding important services for immigrant, rural, disabled and older women. In 2005, VAWA was expanded to focus services on Native American women and immigrant women. It included new programs focused on sexual assault victims, prevention, men and boys, and the needs of teen dating violence victims and child witnesses of domestic violence. The evidence shows that VAWA is working. Over the past fifteen years, we have finally begun to make progress as domestic and sexual violence has started to decline. Since its passage in 1994, more victims report domestic violence to the police and the rate of non-fatal intimate partner violence against women has decreased by 53 percent. But there is still more work to be done. Each day in America, on average, three are murdered by their husband or boyfriend.
Additionally, every year hundreds of thousands of older individuals suffer from elder abuse which consists of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse as well as neglect, exploitation, and abandonment. The amendments to VAWA would continue to support a critical grant program that addresses the epidemic of elder abuse while making necessary improvements to the existing program. By improving direct services for victims of elder abuse and increasing the number of eligible partners that can participate in multidisciplinary training programs, more community stakeholders will be able to address this growing crisis.
The Violence Against Women Act of 2011 must be reauthorized and strengthened to improve our nation’s response to these pervasive and insidious crimes.
How to Contact Your Senators to Urge Passage of VAWA
To show your support and encourage your Senators to vote for passage, simply go to the following web addresses that are set up to facilitate the process:
National Council of Jewish Women http://www.ncjw.org/insider/client/index.cfm/2012/1/31/Taking-the-Violence-Against-Women-Act-to-Higher-Ground
Jewish Women International http://www.capwiz.com/jwi/issues/alert/?alertid=60005501&PROCESS=Take+Action