The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which was first enacted in 1994 with strong NAACP support, recognizes the insidious and pervasive nature of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking while supporting comprehensive, effective and cost saving responses to these crimes. VAWA programs, administered by the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services, give state law enforcement, prosecutors and judges the tools they need to hold offenders accountable and keep communities safe while protecting and supporting victims. Since its enactment, VAWA has dramatically enhanced our nation’s ability to respond to violence against girls and women, boys and men. VAWA is especially important to communitites of color; 37 percent of Hispanic women are victims; 43 percent of African-American women and 38 percent of African-American men are victims; and a staggering 46 percent of American Indian or Alaska Native women and 45 percent of American Indian or Alaska Native men experience intimate-partner victimization.
VAWA must be swiftly reauthorized to ensure the continuation of these vital, lifesaving programs and laws. Senators Patrick Leahy (VT) and Mike Crapo (ID) have introduced a bipartisan bill, S. 47 to reauthorize and improve VAWA. This important legislation seeks to improve criminal justice and community-based responses to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking in the United States.
Debate on S. 47 is scheduled to begin today, Monday, 2/4/2013, with a key vote expected as soon as this evening.
Please take a moment to go to this link to review the Action Alert and contact you elected officials TODAY.