Washington, DC -- Congressman Gene Green demonstrated his strong support of the "Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013" (VAWA) by cosponsoring the legislation, H.R. 11. Passed 19 years ago, this landmark legislation focused the resources, time, and energy of federal, state, and local law enforcement on preventing and stopping domestic abuse, while providing victims of violence with critical services and assistance.
In the 112th Congress, the U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan reauthorization of VAWA, with key provisions strengthening the law, by a vote of 68 to 31. However, the Republican leadership in the House refused to bring this bipartisan bill to the floor, and VAWA failed to secure reauthorization
Representative Green stated, "The Violence Against Women Act is a critical piece of legislation for those affected by domestic violence. Too often, their voice is not heard and they suffer in silence. In strengthening VAWA, we are upholding our responsibility to our constituents to create and improve laws that promote the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all Americans. This bipartisan bill is a perfect example of legislation that Democrats and Republicans can work on together and agree on for the good of our nation."
VAWA has improved the criminal justice system's ability to keep victims safe and hold perpetrators accountable. Based on this legislation, every state has enacted laws to make stalking a crime and strengthened criminal rape statutes. Since VAWA became law, the annual incidence of domestic violence has dropped more than 50 percent -- and reporting of domestic violence has increased as much as 51 percent.
VAWA has successfully encouraged communities and law enforcement agencies to coordinate their responses to violence against women and provide effective, long-term support for victims. Failure to enact this bill again would deprive women, children, and families of vital protection against abuse and deny law enforcement of essential tools to combat violence.