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Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2011 -- Continued

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. NELSON of Florida. Mr. President, I am here today to speak in support of S. 1925, the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, and I want to thank Senator Leahy and Senator Crapo for their leadership on this important issue.

Originally passed in 1994, the Violence Against Women Act has improved the criminal justice system's ability to hold perpetrators accountable and protect victims of domestic violence. The Violence Against Women Act also provides important services to women who have been victims of domestic violence to help them get their lives back on track.

Now, the data tells us that the Violence Against Women's Act has been effective and is needed: In my State of Florida in 2010, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, there were 113,378 reported domestic violence offenses. This includes domestic violence crimes of stalking, threats and intimidations, assaults, rapes, and murders. (SOURCE: Florida Department of Law Enforcement. (2011). Crime in Florida, 2010 Florida Uniform Crime Report. Tallahassee, FL: DLE.) Those reports resulted in 67,810 arrests. That's about 60%. Unfortunately, we may not ever fully know the full extent of domestic violence. Many victims do not report the abuse that they experience to the police or request domestic violence services out of fear and embarrassment.

Since 1994, studies estimate that reporting of domestic violence has increased as much as 51%. Across the Nation we are seeing more victims of domestic violence step out of the shadows, and come forward to ask for help. And we are seeing more prosecution of domestic violence perpetrators. And, this is a trend that we want to see continue.

So, Mr. President, I urge my colleagues to swiftly pass this important legislation.

I yield the floor.

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