Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Violence Against Women Act

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM). October is also Down syndrome Awareness Month. Providing Awareness of both DV and Ds is of great importance to me both personally and professionally. Over the next month you'll be reading about all kinds of things. Some will be happy expressions of joy. Others will not.

And now, more information to think about...

Approximately 1,400 women a year – four every day – die in the United States as a result of domestic violence. And 132,000 women report that they have been victims of a rape or attempted rape, and it is estimated that an even greater number have been raped, but do not report it.

Joe Biden wrote and passed the landmark Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) which is the strongest legislation to date that criminalizes domestic violence and other forms of violence against women, provides victims with the support they deserve, and holds batterers accountable. Signed into law in 1994, the bill funds and helps communities, nonprofit organizations, and police combat domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

VAWA establishes a sexual assault services program and provides education grants to prevent domestic violence. Since VAWA was enacted, over 2,500 separate shelters, centers, and outreach offices have been established and the National Domestic Violence Hotline has received over 2 million calls. Shining a spotlight on this violence has resulted both in better supports for victims, and lowering the incident rate of domestic violence by 60%.

What Joe Biden did in writing VAWA, among many things, was to provide funds and expertise for training officers, prosecutors and judges across the country to better work these cases, and provide real help for victims who so desperately need hope. Bravo.

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) provides support to victims with disabilities. Although the original version of VAWA did not provide funding for victims with disabilities, the 2000 reauthorization authorized a grant program to provide education and technical assistance to service providers to better meet the needs of disabled victims of violence.

The 2005 reauthorization of VAWA further expanded coverage for disabled victims. The 2005 reauthorization:
· Expanded education, training, and services grant programs.
· Included added construction and personnel costs for shelters that serve disabled victims of domestic violence to the purpose areas that can receive VAWA funding.
· Focused on the development of collaborative relationships between victim service organizations and organizations that serve individuals with disabilities.
· Provided funding for the development of model programs that implement advocacy and intervention services within organizations servicing disabled individuals.

Although the Department of Justice authorized $10 million per year for FY 2007 through FY 2011, only $7.1 million was allocated for protections and services for disabled victims in FY 2007. The Campaign for Funding to End Domestic and Sexual Violence requests $10 million for FY 2008 and subsequent years to be allocated to serve victims with disabilities.

For more information or to get help, please contact:
The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE
The National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE
Text and Sources: here here here

No comments: