The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) passed the Senate on April 26 and the companion bill (H.R. 4271) is awaiting passage in the House. However, on May 8, a different version of VAWA (H.R. 4970) passed the House Judiciary Committee by a nearly party-line vote and is scheduled for a vote May 16, 2012.
This version of the legislation would actually turn back the tides on years of progress for victims' rights. The Violence Against Women Act provides assistance to victims of domestic and dating violence, sexual assault and stalking—both women and men—by facilitating coordinated community responses to these crimes, funding specialized training for various levels of law enforcement, and supporting community-based organizations that offer programs for victims. Since its passage in 1994, more victims report domestic violence to the police, and the rate of non-fatal intimate partner violence against women has decreased by 53 percent. H.R. 4970 would divert funding away from essential services and deprive countless victims of necessary protections.
The Manager's Amendment to the bill—which will also be voted on tomorrow—changed the legislation's nondiscrimination language, looseing discrimination regulations for organizations receiving VAWA funding.
In February, Hadassah joined the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women and over 1,000 coalition members in submitting a letter to Congress in support of VAWA's reauthorization. This week, Hadassah joined with coalition partners in letters to Congressional leadership supporting an inclusive VAWA—opposing H.R. 4970 and the nondiscrimination language change.
Don't let women's safety be put in jeopardy because of partisan politics. Visit the Hadassah National Action Center and urge your Representatives to vote against H.R. 4970! Share this information with friends and family, in Hadassah bulletins, letters to the editor, and via social media.
Check out HERvotes for the VAWA Blog Carnival archive and additional information and resources from Hadassah's coalition partners.Date: 5/15/2012