Preventing domestic violence must start early by promoting positive and safe dating relationships. It is imperative that the government help provide every opportunity for victims to overcome instances of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. I have been and will continue to be a committed advocate of victims’ rights. Domestic and sexual violence has claimed too many victims, even here in Idaho.
Dating violence is a horrendous epidemic in this country – where one in every three teenagers reports experiencing physical or emotional abuse in a relationship. This issue continues to remain personal to me, as I have seen firsthand the terrible impact domestic violence can have on victims in Idaho.
Since 1994, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) has helped victims and families in our communities by making substantial progress toward ending domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. Despite VAWA’s remarkable work, many victims cannot access services because many programs lack sufficient resources to provide the basic services that these victims desperately need.
In 2013, I was the lead Republican sponsor on legislation to reauthorize VAWA. The law extends the many successes of the previous VAWA legislation as well as improves upon provisions in order to correspond to our evolving society.
Together, we can work to develop policies and efforts that support prevention by promoting healthy relationships, responding to dating abuse, and reaching out through creative and effective social marketing campaigns. Everyone can help make a difference in combating the domestic violence that tears so many families and communities apart.