AG Cooper urges Congress to reauthorize Violence Against Women Act
Release date: 1/11/2012
Programs essential to protecting families nationwide
Raleigh: Attorney General Roy Cooper joined 52 other attorneys general in calling on Congress to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (“VAWA”) and ensure that vital programs working to keep women and families safe from violence and abuse continue uninterrupted.
“Domestic violence is a serious issue that can have deadly consequences,” said Cooper. “We must all work together to make sure victims and their families get the support they need.”
In their letter to members of Congress
, the attorneys general note that the national response to domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking has been transformed since the initial passage of VAWA in 1994. Crimes that used to be considered private matters to be dealt with behind closed doors have been brought out of the darkness and the results have been dramatic. Rates of domestic violence have dropped by more than 50 percent in the past 17 years.
However, domestic violence continues to claim lives. Three women are killed each day in the United States by abusive husbands and partners. In 2010, 107 North Carolinians lost their lives in domestic violence murders.
Cooper and the other attorneys general urge Congress to reauthorize VAWA for the first time since 2006 in order to maintain services for victims and families. Reauthorization would allow existing programs to continue uninterrupted and would also provide for the development of new initiatives to:
Address the high rates of domestic violence, dating violence and sexual assault among women aged 16-24. Women who experience abuse as teens are more likely to be victimized again as adults.
Improve the response to sexual assault by implementing best practices, training, and communication tools among the health care, law enforcement, and legal services a victim encounters after an assault.
Prevent domestic violence homicides with enhanced training for law enforcement, advocates, and others. A growing number of experts and researchers agree that these homicides are predictable – and therefore preventable – if we know the warning signs.
“Reauthorizing VAWA will send a clear message that this country does not tolerate violence against women and show Congress’ commitment to reducing domestic violence, protecting women from sexual assault and securing justice for victims,” the attorneys general wrote in their letter.
Contact: Noelle Talley (919) 716-6413