Washington, D.C. - A critical federal measure to assist victims of domestic violence has passed in the United States Senate. Idaho Senator Mike Crapo joined with Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) in introducing the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), S. 1925. Crapo, a long-time leader in Congress against domestic violence and co-author of similar legislation in past sessions, spoke on the Senate floor today regarding the importance of reauthorization.
"I am a long-time champion of the prevention of domestic violence because I have seen the impact of this abuse in Idaho," Crapo said. "The Act provides critical services to victims of violent crime, as well as agencies and organizations that provide important aid to those victims."
Crapo noted that VAWA has been the centerpiece of the nation's commitment to end domestic, dating and sexual violence for nearly eighteen years. The measure provides access to legal and social services for survivors of domestic violence, and provides training to law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, attorneys and advocates to address these crimes in our nation's communities.
"Last year in Idaho, twenty-two people were killed by a domestic partner," Crapo added. "Approximately one in three adolescent girls in the United States is a victim of physical, emotional, or verbal abuse from a dating partner. Nearly one in ten high school students nation-wide were hit, slapped, or physically hurt on purpose by their boyfriend or girlfriend. Future tragedies must be prevented. While we may not all agree on the specifics of this reauthorization, all of us agree that we must end domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking in the United States."
The widely-supported legislation, which passed 68 to 31, improves existing programs to address evolving needs in the fight against domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. VAWA provides tools to prevent domestic violence homicides by supporting training to those law enforcement officers, victim service providers and court personnel who are working on the frontlines to eliminate domestic violence. The legislation also promotes accountability to ensure that federal funds are used for their intended purposes, and consolidates programs and reduces authorization levels to address fiscal concerns while focusing on the programs that have been the most successful.