Violence against women takes many forms, including domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking. These crimes impact millions of individuals and families in every community in our nation. In 1994, Congress passed the landmark Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), a comprehensive approach to addressing and ending violence against women. VAWA established grants to create and improve law enforcement and prosecution strategies at the state and local levels and provides a framework for collaboration between federal, state and local governments; direct service providers; law enforcement personnel; prosecutors and the courts. VAWA proves that it is possible to combat violence against women. Yet, there is more work to be done.
The YWCA supports anti-violence policies that protect victims, hold perpetrators accountable, and work to eradicate sexual assault and domestic violence, trafficking of women and girls, and dating violence. Specifically, we support the continuance and full funding for the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and any legislation that ensures employment stability and economic security for victims of violence against women. As the largest provider of domestic violence shelters in the U.S., serving over half a million women and their families each year, we firmly support legislation that is comprehensive and inclusive of the needs of all victims of violence, particularly those that often experience higher risks of violence such as native women, immigrants and communities of color, and LGBTQ victims.
- In 2012, the House of Representatives passed the Adams-Cantor (H.R. 4970) bill, which failed to include provisions that help immigrant, Native women and LGBT communities. The vote was 222-205, with 23 Republicans voting against the bill and 6 Democrats voting for the bill. The YWCA opposed H.R. 4970.
- The 113th Congress took up the Violence Against Women Act again in January of 2013. An inclusive VAWA that included provisions helping immigrant, Native American and LGBT victims of violence (S. 47) was approved in the Senate, and the House of Representatives approved that version of VAWA. The vote was 286-138. The YWCA supported S. 47.
- VAWA was signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 7, 2013.