U.S. Senators Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ), and U.S. Reps. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) today announced more than $1.1 million in federal funding for three New Jersey organizations that serve victims of domestic and sexual abuse. The funding, authorized by the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), supports programs that provide housing to victims of abuse and programs that address domestic violence and sexual assault in ways that respect and affirm the victim's culture.
"This federal funding will help New Jersey organizations provide critical assistance and housing for New Jersey domestic violence and sexual abuse victims," said Senator Lautenberg, a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee that funds this program. "For nearly two decades, the Violence Against Women Act has served women and families across the country, but the law is being placed at risk because of Republican partisanship in Washingotn. The Senate has passed a bipartisan bill that would renew and strengthen VAWA, and House Republicans should approve it instead of playing politics with women's safety."
"This funding underscores why we need House Republicans to put politics aside and work with us to renew and strengthen the Violence Against Women Act," said Senator Menendez, who successfully fought for bipartisan passage in the Senate of its reauthorization earlier this year. "We must do everything we can to protect victims of domestic violence and their children and that means fighting to fund these critical services and programs."
"These grants made possible by the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) enable community organizations, including two in my district in New Brunswick, to continue to provide life-saving support to victims of domestic violence," said Rep. Pallone. "We need to make sure these important protections for domestic violence victims continue, but House Republicans sadly refuse to bring the bipartisan Senate VAWA reauthorization to the floor for a vote. I will continue to advocate for the Senate's VAWA reauthorization as it strengthens protections for ALL women."
"I want to congratulate Jewish Family Services of Clifton on putting together an extraordinary application that has resulted in a $297,000 Department of Justice grant to continue Project SARAH," said Rep. Pascrell. "Project SARAH has long supported the Orthodox Jewish Community by providing important services to victims of domestic violence. Through this grant, JFS will be able to continue the great work they have been doing in the community, bring in additional staff, and help countless more people in Clifton, Passaic and across the region."
The following New Jersey organizations received federal funding:
Manavia, Inc. in New Brunswick - $535,115 for culturally and linguistically specific services and transitional housing for victims of abuse;
Jewish Family Service & Children's Center in Clifton - $297,000 for culturally and linguistically specific services; and
Women Aware, Inc. in New Brunswick - $299,678 for transitional housing for victims of abuse.
In New Jersey, more than 74,000 domestic violence offenses were reported by the police in 2010, and since 2006, nearly $30 million in federal funding has been provided to more than 40 domestic violence programs in New Jersey through the Violence Against Women Act.
The Violence Against Women Act was originally enacted in 1994 and has been reauthorized twice--in 2000 and 2005--with unanimous Senate approval. After the most recent extension expired in 2011, the Senate passed a reauthorization bill in April 2012, but the House has refused to consider the bipartisan Senate bill. The law provides federal funding for programs and initiatives designed to help victims, and reauthorization is necessary to ensure that local communities and law enforcement agencies get the full resources they need to fight domestic violence.
Senators Lautenberg and Menendez are leaders in the Senate in protecting victims of domestic violence. Lautenberg was an original cosponsor of the Violence Against Women Act when it was introduced in 1993, and is the author of the "Domestic Violence Gun Ban," which prohibits individuals convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors from buying or possessing firearms. Since it was enacted in 1996, the law has succeeded in keeping guns out of the hands of abusers on approximately 200,000 occasions.