Washington, D.C. – Today, Representatives Annie Kuster (D-NH), David Joyce (R-OH), Jackie Speier (D-CA), and Daniel M. Donovan, Jr. (R-NY), the co-chairs of the Bipartisan Task Force to End Sexual Violence, along with Representative Jim Costa (D-CA), co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Victims’ Rights Caucus, held a Task Force roundtable on the importance of reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Today is the 24th anniversary of the signing of VAWA.
The Task Force was joined by:
-Rebecca Henry, Member of the National Task Force to End Sexual & Domestic Violence, and Deputy Chief Counsel of the Commission on Domestic & Sexual Violence at the American Bar Association
-Rebecca O’Connor, Vice President of Public Policy, RAINN
-Lisa Tingle, Senior Assistant to the Commonwealth’s Attorney Office for Arlington and the City of Falls Church, Virginia
-A survivor of intimate partner violence
The current five-year authorization of VAWA expires on September 30, 2018, just five legislative calendar days from today. It is imperative that Congress move quickly, and with bipartisan support, to reauthorize VAWA. Since first enacted nearly a quarter-century ago as part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, VAWA has dramatically reduced intimate partner violence against women and men. VAWA has been successful by funding interventions that research has shown to be effective—such as legal assistance, law enforcement training, protection order enforcement, access to medical forensic examinations, and support for essential services for survivors.
“The Violence Against Women Act is a groundbreaking piece of legislation that has received strong support from Members of Congress across the political spectrum,” said the Task Force Co-Chairs. “The programs, grants, and guidance contained in VAWA have helped survivors following traumatic sexual violence and have helped law enforcement and healthcare providers address and respond to incidents of such violence. While this legislation has contributed to the overall decline in domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking, the harsh reality is that these crimes remain all too common and we must continue working toward solutions. This is not a Republican or Democrat issue. Congress must come together and act to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act and affirm our commitment to eliminate the scourge of sexual violence.”
“The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) has helped efforts to eradicate sexual violence across the country” said Rebecca O’Connor, Vice President for Public Policy at RAINN and a witness at the roundtable. “As the nation's largest sexual violence organization and founder and operator of the National Sexual Assault Hotline, RAINN is dedicated to ensuring that victims and survivors receive support and assistance, including the unparalleled medical care provided by forensic nurses. We look forward to working with the Bipartisan Task Force and all members of the House and Senate to ensure the passage of a bipartisan reauthorization of VAWA.”
The Bipartisan Task Force to End Sexual Violence is comprised of over 41 members from both sides of the aisle and works to raise awareness and propose solutions to the challenges posed by sexual assault. The Task Force’s areas of focus include: K-12 education, campus sexual violence, the rape kit backlog, military sexual trauma, improved data and collection, online harassment, and law enforcement training.