Friday, September 14, 2012

18 Candles on the Cake, But More Growing To Do

September 13, 2012 was a milestone-- eighteen years… not a birthday for a young adult, but for VAWA the Violence Against Women Act. Never heard of VAWA? In short, VAWA made it clear that violence against women was a priority issue in the US. Here’s the history. VAWA is a US federal law signed into effect in 1994 by President Clinton that provided funds toward investigation and prosecution of violent crimes against women. VAWA also established the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence against Women. Vice President Joe Biden eloquently summarizes its purpose, “[VAWA] was founded on the basic premise that every woman deserves to be safe from violence.” Statement by the Vice President on VAWA's 18 Anniversary
 
What’s VAWA’s impact?
VAWA created funds for victim-assistance services, improved prosecution of crimes against women, prevention initiatives, and coordinated community response that encouraged representatives from the criminal justice system, human services and community organizations to work together to end domestic and sexual violence. VAWA has resulted in increased access to services and improved victim-centered services, better protections for immigrants, and decreased rates of crime. Our criminal justice response to intimate partner violence has improved immensely. But there’s still more work to do. DVRC’s hotline still responds to almost 2,000 calls each year. Our shelter is often at full occupancy. People in our community still endure relationship and sexual violence abuse every day.

Eighteen years later VAWA is still needed… but we’ve grown a lot in 18 years. Let’s work toward keeping all relationships safe. Let’s end violence against women… and violence against men… and violence against children. I fully support all the work VAWA has launched to make our communities safer… let’s expand the vision. May I paraphrase Vice President Biden and suggest a basic premise that every human being deserves to be safe from violence. That’s a really big vision. Let’s start with ending relationship and sexual violence.
Peace Begins at Home.
Live it… model it… support it… let’s make it happen!
Want  more information about VAWA? National Network to End Domestic Violence
 

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