Congressman Mark Amodei (NV-2) today voted in favor of H.R. 4970, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2012 (VAWA), of which he is an original cosponsor. The legislationis designed to prevent and prosecute violence against intimate partners, with language that does not exclude victims of any age, race, sexual orientation or background.
"As the father of two daughters, this legislation is very important to me," said Amodei. "It increases resources for investigations, prosecutions, and victim services, while strengthening penalties and promoting educational awareness to prevent violence from occurring in the first place. And because good intentions aren't good enough, this version of the bill would help ensure taxpayer resources go to help victims rather than Washington bureaucrats."
The bill would provide for a five-year reauthorization of every VAWA grant program at the same funding levels as the Senate version (S. 1925). This funding would assist groups like the Reno-based National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, whose mission is to train judges to understand the unique dynamics of domestic violence and to provide appropriate legal relief to victims and their families.
The bill would also address concerns raised by various Indian tribes that federal prosecutors are failing to pursue cases against non-Indians who commit abuse on tribal lands.
"I heard from tribes in my district, including the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California, the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony Tribal Council, the Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone Tribe, and the Fallon Paiute Shoshone Tribe about this issue and I can assure them that this bill would not only provide increased funding for federal law enforcement and prosecutors to pursue these cases, it would also empower Indian victims to seek protective orders in U.S. District Courts against abusers."
Signed into law in 1994, VAWA established within the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Health and Human Services a number of grant programs for state, local, and tribal governments. DOJ's Office on Violence against Women, which was established in 1995, administers three formula-based and 14 discretionary grant programs.