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The Violence Against Women Act, S.1925, is a strong, bipartisan, filibuster-proof bill that will re-authorize essential laws and programs for another five years and build on effective, existing programs to meet the changing needs of victims of domestic and sexual violence. This legislation, introduced by our own Senator Leahy (D-VT) and Senator Crapo (R-ID), currently has 61 co-sponsors, including eight Republicans.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has yet to call the bill to the Senate floor for a vote that would demonstrate Congress’ commitment to end this violence. Delaying this vote threatens the progress our country has made toward ending domestic and sexual violence and building safer communities.
VAWA saves lives and money – $12.6 billion in its first six years alone. I, as a survivor of violent crime, know firsthand the benefits and services offered through VAWA. Approximately $400 million in annual funding supports local law enforcement, prosecution, courts and victim services. Since its passage in 1994, all states have strengthened rape laws and the number of individuals killed by an intimate partner has decreased by 34 percent for women and 57 percent for men.
Critics of the bill fear that it will help “too many” victims. However, we should do all we can for all domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking victims. A vote for the Leahy-Crapo bill says, unequivocally, that “we will help you wherever and whenever you need help.” The time has come for Senator Reid to call this bill to the floor and once again re-authorize this critical legislation. You can contact Senator Reid at www.reid.senate.gov/contact/index.cfm.
You can also contact our Vermont Senator Leahy at (800) 642-3193. Thank him for his support and let him know you want this vote called to the Senate floor.