Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women – more than car accidents, muggings, and rape combined. And studies suggest that up to ten (10) million children witness some form of domestic abuse annually. Everyone has a right to be safe.
Research data indicates that when different members of the community coordinated their efforts to protect battered women and hold batterers accountable, these efforts were more successful. Coordination helps to ensure that the system works faster and better for victims, that victims are protected and receive the services they need, and that batterers are held accountable and cease their abusive behavior.
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. 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.
VAWA is up for reauthorization. The National Coalition Against Domestic (NCADV) issued a series of action alerts related to the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Reauthorization. In its action alerts, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reminds us that the Violence Against Women Act, ”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.”
Today, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Network to End Sexual and Domestic Violence issued an action alert concerning the importance of getting the US Senate to vote on the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The action alert reads as follows:
Urge Senator Reid to schedule a vote THIS WEEK! VAWA (S. 1925) has 61 sponsors -and Senate Majority Leader Reid has still not called the bill to the floor! In the meantime, victims and survivors of violence are being ignored and those who oppose VAWA are developing alternative bills that would undercut VAWA. Tell Senator Reid that victims and survivors do not have time to wait and he must call the bill to the floor this week. Tell your Senators to support S. 1925, the real VAWA! TAKE ACTION: 1. Urge Senator Reid to schedule VAWA for a vote THIS WEEK. 2. Write a letter to the editor to get the real VAWA to the Senate floor (sample below!).
Action 1: S. 1925 has enough sponsors to go to the Senate floor for a vote without a filibuster. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has the power to schedule VAWA for a vote. Ask him to schedule a vote THIS WEEK.
Suggested message: “Senator Reid, you have 61 co-sponsors. You can get a vote for cloture now. In the meantime, those who oppose VAWA are developing a bill that will undercut everything VAWA stands for. Please schedule a date in April so that S.1925, the real VAWA,will be heard on the Senate floor.”
If you are not from Nevada, call 202-224-3542 (D.C. office).
If you are from Nevada, call 775-686-5750 (Reno office).
Action 2: Write a letter to the editor to get VAWA to the Senate Floor! Find suggested language below which you should feel free to edit and personalize. Find media contacts in your area: http://capwiz.com/fconl/dbq/media.
To The Editor:
The Violence Against Women Act, S. 1925, is a strong, bipartisan, filibuster-proof bill that will reauthorize essential laws and programs for another five years and build on effective, existing programs to meet the changing needs of victims of domestic and sexual violence. This legislation, introduced by Senator Leahy (D-VT) and Senator Crapo (R-ID), currently has 61 co-sponsors, including eight Republicans. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has yet to call the bill to the Senate floor for a vote that would demonstrate Congress’ commitment to end this violence. Delaying this vote threatens the progress our country has made toward ending domestic and sexual violence and building safer communities.
VAWA saves lives and money - $12.6 billion in its first 6 years alone. Approximately $400 million in annual funding supports local law enforcement, prosecution, courts, and victim services. Since its passage in 1994, all states have strengthened rape laws and the number of individuals killed by an intimate partner has decreased by 34% for women and 57% for men.
Critics of the Leahy-Crapo bill fear that the bill will help “too many” victims. Critics say S. 1925 gives immigrants a “new” way to enter the U.S., while in reality, provisions to protect abused immigrants have been in place since 1994. They also claim S. 1925 would force all domestic violence and sexual assault programs to serve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) victims or be charged with discrimination. In reality, S. 1925 has a provision that allows states to fund services specifically targeted to LGBT victims, who are often turned away or denied services because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. They say S. 1925 violates the Constitution by giving tribal courts the authority to punish non-Indians for committing domestic violence on tribal lands where 1 in 3 American Indian women will be raped in their lifetime. In fact, S. 1925 requires tribal courts to provide the same Constitutional protections afforded to defendants in state criminal courts.
Senate leadership must move quickly to bring S. 1925 to the floor. A vote for the Leahy-Crapo bill says, unequivocally, to all victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking, “We will help you wherever and whenever you need help.” The time has come for Senator Reid to call this bill to the floor and once again reauthorize this critical legislation.
[Name, Title, Organization, Contact Info]
With an equal amount of conscience, mind, heart, and collective action we can end violence against women. Toward that end, support the reauthorization of VAWA by calling your Senator this week.
Source: NCADV Action Alert, April 17, 2012.
Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art
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.
[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.
S.1925 (the Leahy/Crapo bill) to Reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, February 2, 2012. Activists in every state and territory helped to send a strong message to the Senate about the importance of this bill and the various provisions in it. It has been reported that key Senate offices were flooded with calls making it clear to all the importance of reauthorizing VAWA. The calls, emails, and faxes served to make a difference in the passing of S.1925 (the Leahy/Crapo bill).
Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art
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