RMC Responds: The Violence Against Women Act- Know the Facts!Posted: February 15, 2013
This week 23 Republican Senators voted in favor of Violence Against Women Act and this critical legislation passed the Senate with bipartisan support. This bill, first implemented in 1994, had been consistently reauthorized until 2012 when passage was blocked in the House of Representatives.
The Violence Against Women Act has protected countless families from over the past two decades—but how exactly does it work?
Rocky said, “Does this actually allow women to protect themselves or just screw with the rest of us?”
In 1994 this groundbreaking legislation took a comprehensive approach to combating horrifyingly high rates of domestic abuse and sexual assault. These initiatives focused on improving the criminal justice system’s response to these acts of violence and creating resources to increase the likelihood that victims will speak out.
VAWA developed new resources for women and families who are victims of violence, and for the members of the criminal justice system who are there to support them. It:
- established the National Domestic Violence Hotline to respond to urgent calls for help. The hotline has taken over 3 million calls, and receives over 22,000 calls each month.
- ensures that those who respond to crisis calls understand the realities of domestic and sexual violence by training over 500,000 law enforcement officers, prosecuters, judges and other personnel each year.
- mandated that victims cannot be made to cover the costs of their own rape exams or for service of a protection order.
- strengthened the federal penalties for repeat sex offenders and increased rates of prosecution, conviction, and sentencing of offenders by creating police and prosecution units dedicated to combating domestic violence.
- created a federal “rape shield law” that mandates that victims’ past consensual sexual conduct cannot be used against them during a rape trial.
Since it’s initial conception, VAWA has lead to a decrease in the rate of domestic violence and an increase in both the number of victims who report these crimes and the number of arrests made. But the United States still has one of the highest rates of violence against women in the developed world. RMC encourages all House Republicans to show their support for all American women by voting for the reauthorization of the ViolenceAgainst Women Act. As Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) said this week on the Senate floor, “You don’t give up when the cause is right.”