House Sign on Letter in Support of Reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

February 15, 2013

Dear House Leaders:

We, the undersigned local, state, tribal, and national organizations, represent and support millions of victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking throughout the United States, American Indian Tribal lands and U.S Territories. On behalf of the victims we represent, and the professionals who serve them and the communities that sustain them, we ask that you support the Violence Against Women Act’s (VAWA) reauthorization by bringing the recently-passed bipartisan Senate VAWA (S.47) to the House floor for a vote as speedily as possible. As you know, VAWA passed the Senate on Tuesday, February 12 with a resounding bipartisan vote of 78-22 in favor of an all-embracing bill that strives to address violence for all victims in communities, homes, campuses and workplaces all around the country,

VAWA’s programs support national, state, tribal, territorial, and local efforts to address the pervasive and insidious crimes of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. These programs have made great progress towards reducing the violence, helping victims to be healthy and feel safe and holding perpetrators accountable. This critical legislation must be reauthorized to ensure a continued response to these crimes.

Since its original passage in 1994, VAWA has dramatically enhanced our nation’s response to violence against girls and women, boys and men. More victims report domestic violence to the police and the rate of non-fatal intimate partner violence against women has decreased by 64%. The sexual assault services program in VAWA helps rape crisis centers keep their doors open to provide the front-line response to victims of rape. VAWA provides for a coordinated community approach, improving collaboration between law enforcement and victim services providers to better meet the needs of victims. These comprehensive and cost-effective programs not only save lives, they also save money. In fact, VAWA saved nearly $12.6 billion in net averted social costs in just its first six years.

VAWA has unquestionably improved the national response to these terrible crimes. Nonetheless, much work remains to be done to address unmet needs and enhance access to protections and services for all victims, including housing, campus security, and addressing the needs of racial and ethnic communities, tribal, immigrant and LGBT victims. We urge you work with your colleagues in both parties as we all work to build upon VAWA's successes, continue to enhance our nation’s ability to promote an end to this violence, to hold perpetrators accountable and to keep victims and their families safe from future harm. Thank you.

Sincerely,
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