Your help is needed to see that the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is renewed before Congress adjourns for the year. If VAWA is not passed and signed into law this year, funding for existing domestic and sexual violence programs and needed expansion could be lost.
Over the past 10 years VAWA has changed the lives of victims who once suffered in silence. Nearly one in four women experience at least one physical assault by a partner during adulthood. Children ages 12â19 are sexually assaulted at rates higher than any other age group. VAWA is working to break the cycle of violence and empower victims of domestic and sexual assault.
Now through its inaction Congress could take these programs away. Earlier this year, both the House and Senate passed separate bills with strong bipartisan support. Negotiators must resolve significant differences in the two bills and send this critical legislation to the President's desk before Congress recesses.
VAWA's achievements are evident: the 1994 law saved an estimated $14.8 billion in net averted social costs in its first 6 years. However, because more victims are now able to come forward, demand for local services has continued to rise. Since VAWA 1994 there has been a 51% increase in reporting of domestic violence and the National Domestic Violence Hotline has seen calls increase an average of 18% every year. VAWA is working, but to see further success, both in saving lives and dollars, we must reauthorize VAWA now.
VAWA 2005 must include these critical programs while responding to evolving community needs by expanding funding for local groups working with underserved communities particularly communities of color, legal immigrants, the disabled, elderly and Native Americans.