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Help Pass the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization!

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What Is The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)? 

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is a landmark piece of legislation that seeks to improve the criminal justice and community-based responses to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking in the United States, it expires September 2005!  The co-authors of the legislation are Senator Joseph Biden of Delaware; and Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah.  The passage of the VAWA in 1994 and 2000 has changed the landscape for victims who once suffered in silence.  Victims have been able to access services, and a new generation of families and justice system professionals have come to understand that domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking are crimes that our society will not tolerate.   

Proposals for VAWA reauthorization include innovative and cost effective programs that will:

  • Reauthorize and enhance existing VAWA programs;
  • Continue to help the criminal justice and legal systems better protect and help victims;
  • Develop new programs that better respond to community needs and create a comprehensive yet pragmatic approach to ending violence against women;
  • Provide direct services for all victims while addressing the unique needs of underserved communities such as women who are disabled or elderly, ethnic minorities, and those who live in rural communities;
  • Create housing solutions for victims including allowing victims to access the criminal justice system while maintain their housing;
  • Provide services to children, teens, and young adults who have experienced violence in their lives, and educate young people about domestic violence and sexual assault;
  • Prevent violence against women and children by reaching out to children and families at risk;
  • Strengthen the health care system’s response to violence against women;
  • Ensure existing forms of immigration relief are available to victims through amendments to current law;
  • Significantly improve the response to American Indian and Native Alaskan victims, who experience staggering rates of physical and sexual assault;
  • Enhance Services for Military Victims of Domestic Violence.

 

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CNADV Staff and NFL Quarterback Don McPherson!

SAMPLE LETTER TO CONGRESS

Violence Against Women Act

 

 

 

Date

The Honorable [Senator’s/Representative’s Name]

United States [Senate/House of Representatives]

Washington, D.C. [20510/20515]

 

 

 

Dear [Senator’s/Representative’s Name]:

 

Over the past 10 years Congress has responded positively and effectively to help end domestic violence in our communities by funding Violence Against Women Act programs.  In recent years the success of these programs has resulted in a growing demand for the life-saving services they provide.  However, this increased demand coincides with a series of budget cuts that have crippled many local organizations, and forced others to close completely.

 

Programs such as the National Domestic Violence Hotline, battered women’s shelters, and trainings for police, prosecutors and court officials have contributed to the decline in domestic violence since VAWA was first authorized in 1994.  VAWA is more than good social policy; it is also good fiscal policy.  The first VAWA authorized in 1994, saved nearly $14.8 billion in net averted social costs.  Full funding for all VAWA programs is a crucial investment in our communities, one that saves lives, saves money and save the future of our nation.

 

 Unfortunately, in the FY’05 Congressional Budget, the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) received $126.7 which is $48.3 million below the authorized level fo #175 million.  STOP grants were cut by $16.1 million from FY,03 amounts.  The victims of Crime Act Fund (VOCA) is a key non-taxpayers funding source for services that helps victims cope with the trauma and aftermath of violent crime, and is capped at $650 million.  This funding simply does not meet the need for emergency services.  The President’s Budget would eliminate the balance of this fund, destablilizing critical services for victims of all types of crime.

 

[Insert information, statistics, and/or stories describing the need for increased VAWA funding in YOUR community.  How will the cuts in funding affect your program?  Your communities response to domestic violence? Do you have a personal story?  Let your voice be heard!]

 

Without full funding for VAWA programs, women and children in [your city and/or state] , cannot access the services they need to escape from violence. The continued support of Congress is crucial to helping victims and their children find safety and security and build self-sufficiency.  Please support full funding for all VAWA programs.

 

Sincerely,

 

Your Name

 

 

 

(Letter Adapted from National Coalition Against Domestic Violence Letter)

Tamika Johnson
Leading Lady Enterprises
P.O. Box 35, Worton, MD 21678
 
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