Domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking are crimes that directly affect 1 in 4 women in the United States and touch the lives of millions of others. An average of three women in America die as a result of domestic violence each day. One in four women and one in thirteen men will experience domestic violence in their lifetime.To bring attention to acts of violence perpetrated against women, children, and families, October has been designated as Domestic Violence Awareness month, focusing on our nation's efforts to curb violence against women and children and to advocate for more and better resources to bring an end to violence.
During Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we join other groups, advocates, and denominations to raise our voices and awareness about the destructive impact of domestic violence on families from all walks of life and to advocate for renewed emphasis on and support for those programs that help in the fight of against domestic violence. We re-double our efforts to assist every woman in need of help to secure the safety, healing, and protection she and her family needs.
Programs and funding through the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) help provide critical lifesaving services for victims and their children across the country, including in our local communities. VAWA provides federal funds for investigating and prosecuting domestic violence, including support for emergency family shelters and domestic abuse hotlines, among other provisions. It also provides funds for services such as counseling, legal guidance for divorce procedures, restraining orders, assistance with custody procedures, alternative housing, and help ensuring safety. VAWA has been reauthorized twice since 1994 and is scheduled for reauthorization again this year.
The Violence Against Women Act, originally enacted in 1994 as Title IV of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (P.L. 103-322), emphasizes funding of enforcement efforts as well as educational and social programs to prevent crime. The focus of the funding is on local government programs, an approach that the sponsors of the legislation believed was the most promising technique for reducing crime and violence. VAWA 2005 was enacted on January 5, 2006. Among other things, VAWA 2005 reauthorized existing VAWA programs and created many new programs. The act encourages collaboration among law enforcement, judicial personnel, and public and private service providers to victims of domestic and sexual violence; increases public awareness of domestic violence; addresses the special needs of victims of domestic and sexual violence, including the elderly, disabled, children, youth, and individuals of ethnic and racial communities; authorizes long-term and transitional housing for victims; makes some provisions gender-neutral; and requires studies and reports on the effectiveness of approaches used for certain grants in combating violence. President Barack Obama released his FY2011 budget on February 2, 2011, requesting funding of $649.36 million for violence against women programs, including funding of $500,000 each for two new efforts to address sexual and domestic violence and stalking in Indian Country: (1) Indian CountryâSexual Assault Clearinghouse and (2) Indian CountryâRegional Summits.