Rep. Jim Costa, Co-Chair of the Congressional Victims' Rights Caucus, supported legislation that expands protections for victims and survivors and gives victims' advocates and law enforcement the tools necessary to protect vulnerable populations. The reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which won bipartisan support in the House of Representatives and Senate, is now headed to the President for his signature.
"Protecting all crime victims and their families is one of our most sacred obligations," said Costa. "Today, the House came together to put victims first and to finish the job that was left undone by the last Congress. We have come a long way in reducing domestic violence, and this Reauthorization gives advocates who are on the frontlines the tools they need to ensure no survivor faces their struggle alone."
"All victims deserve equal protections and the right to access supportive services and justice," added Chevon Kothari, Executive Director, Mountain Crisis Services, "As theexecutive director of a domestic and sexual violence organization, I see firsthand the importance of the Violence Against Women Act to the individuals and families we serve. This reauthorization gives us the necessary tools to assist vulnerable populations in their time of need."
"The Violence Against Women Act is critical to protecting the more than 4,500 women and children in Fresno County who turn to our center during their time of need," said Pamela Kallsen, Executive Director, Marjaree Mason Center. "The vote to reauthorize the law will help us provide emergency assistance and legal services for victims of domestic violence here in our Valley. We are very grateful to our elected officials who saw how essential these programs are to the wellbeing of our communities."
The Violence Against Women Act that first passed in 1994 helped bring domestic violence out of the shadows and give law enforcement and victims' advocates much-needed tools to assist crime victims and their families. Since that time, non-fatal intimate partner violence has decreased 53 percent, and the number of women who have been killed by an intimate partner has dropped 34 percent.
Costa serves as the co-chair and co-founder of the bipartisan Congressional Victims' Rights Caucus. The mission of the Congressional Victims' Rights Caucus is to elevate crime victim issues in Congress in a bipartisan manner without infringing on the rights of the accused, and to represent and to advocate before the Administration and within Congress on behalf of crime victims.