Udall to House: Pass VAWAs Life-Saving Programs Now
Legislation Helps Survivors by Combating Domestic Violence, Sexual Assaults, Stalking
Following the U.S. Senate's passage of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) today, Mark Udall called on his colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives to follow suit and pass this bipartisan proposal. VAWA, which lapsed last year due to the House's inaction, provides critical support for programs that assist survivors to overcome domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking.
"Coloradans know in their hearts that we must do everything we can to prevent violence against women and support victims of these heinous crimes. Following the House's inaction last year on this life-saving legislation, millions of Americans have been left without the help they need," Udall said. "I'm proud that senators worked across the partisan divide to pass this bill quickly and early this year. I urge my colleagues in the House to set aside partisan politics and help ensure these life-saving programs have adequate support. The survival of these programs - and the lives of the millions of Americans who count on them - are at stake."
Udall has joined with Coloradans to encourage Congress to quickly reauthorize this important bill. His petition has gained more than 4,500 signers since Udall originally launched it prior to Congress's first attempt to reauthorize VAWA in March 2012.
Udall's work follows in the footsteps of Coloradan and former U.S. Rep. Pat Schroeder, who said the following when she introduced VAWA in the House on Feb. 24, 1993: "We find ourselves confronting new fears that limit our ability to live our lives – fears of walking in our own neighborhoods, driving or walking at night, riding public transportation, fears of traveling alone. ... It is time to let women know that their safety in their own communities and homes is important to this body. The Violence Against Woman Act does just that."
The 2013 Senate reauthorization provides resources to state and local law enforcement to investigate and prosecute crimes and to nonprofit organizations that supply services for victims and survivors. The bill modifies the existing VAWA to include some of the following important updates:
- Strengthens tribes' capabilities to respond to violence against Native American women;
- Increases accountability measures for grant programs, in response to a series of Justice Department inspector general audits that found problems with accounting;
- Increases access to support services for LGBT victims of domestic violence; and
- Ensures law enforcement personnel receive the funding and support to ensure rape kits are promptly tested and to reduce the countrywide backlog.