Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats held a press conference today to announce the introduction of legislation to provide for the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. At the press conference, Leader Pelosi highlighted the critical, life-saving support the Violence Against Women Act provides to victims of violence and underscored the law's role in reducing violence against women. Below are the Leader's opening remarks:
"Good afternoon. I'm very pleased to be here with my very distinguished colleagues, Congresswoman Gwen Moore, who is a national leader in the fight against domestic violence and has led the way in reintroducing the Violence Against Women Act. Congressman John Conyers the distinguished once and future Chair of the Judiciary Committee and Congresswoman Louise Slaughter who was one of the original cosponsors of the Violence Against Women Act, when it was introduced in 1994. And a champion on women's rights, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney of New York.
"Eighteen years ago, Members of Congress came together to make history: ensuring that no victim of domestic violence has to suffer in silence. We did this with passage of the Violence Against Women Act. With this legislation, we took the issue of violence against women and children out of the shadows and shone bright sunlight upon it. That was a watershed moment. And twice, in the intervening years, we have come together in a bipartisan way -- and that's what we hope this will be as well, a bipartisan way, to reauthorize and strengthen the law. Today, we call upon our colleagues to do this once again.
"For nearly 20 years, the Violence Against Women Act has strengthened communities and provided critical, life-saving support to victims of violence. This law has helped ensure that more victims report domestic violence to the police, that the rate of non-fatal intimate partner violence against women has been decreased by 53%, in that period of time, [that] rape crisis centers have been able to keep their doors open, [that] law enforcement and victims services providers are working together to better meet the needs of victims. Not only has the Violence Against Women Act saved lives, it has saved money, nearly $12.6 billion in net averted social costs in just the first six years.
"I want to especially acknowledge the leadership of our Vice President, Joe Biden, at that time, and on the ongoing, he has always been a champion of this, and without him, it would not have become the law of the land.
"All Americans are entitled to feel safe in their workplace, in their homes, and walking on our streets. Yet too many women continue to live in fear. And that is why we must reauthorize -- and strengthen -- and pass -- the Violence Against Women Act.
"I'm now pleased to yield to a very courageous sponsor and author of this legislation, she has established herself as a leader in the Congress on many issue. She will speak with personal authority on this subject. Congresswoman Gwen Moore."