For Immediate Release:
September 13, 2015
Statement from Chair Belinda Biafore on the 21st Anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act
“Today marks the 21st anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1994. Created to provide resources toward the investigation and prosecution of violent crimes committed against women, the law initially passed with broad bi-partisan support and for years served as a bulwark for women in this country.
“VAWA has created positive change.
“Since VAWA was passed fewer people are experiencing domestic violence. Between 1993 to 2010, the rate of intimate partner violence declined 67%; More victims are reporting domestic and sexual violence to police, and reports to police are resulting in more arrests. States have reformed their laws to take violence against women more seriously.
“VAWA provides money to: enhance investigation and prosecution of violent crimes perpetrated against women, increase pre-trial detention of the accused, impose automatic and mandatory restitution on those convicted, and allow civil redress in cases where prosecutors elect not to prosecute. Some have described this law as “the greatest breakthrough in civil rights for women in nearly two decades.”
“But there’s still plenty of work ahead to reduce violence and maintain federal and state funding for anti-violence programs. While the law continues to provide vital protections including community violence prevention programs and funding for victim assistance services, elements of the extreme right continue to threaten the law as part of their divisive social agenda. Please join us in helping to do our part to ensure that doesn’t happen.
“Today we celebrate the anniversary of VAWA and all that it has done for women while we look ahead and commit to working to ensure that laws like this one stay in place.”