Ms. MENG. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to urge my colleagues to pass the bipartisan, Senate-passed Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act.
Early in my career, one of my first experiences was working with victims of domestic violence who were struggling and in desperate need of help. Having personally helped victims fill out VAWA petitions so they wouldn't be forced to live under the same roof as their abusers, I've seen firsthand the long-term human devastation this kind of violence can cause, and we cannot continue to ignore its toll on women and families.
VAWA funds have trained over 500,000 law enforcement and judicial officers on the realities of domestic and sexual violence, helping to protect survivors across the country. VAWA saves money, and it saves lives.
Since VAWA was first enacted, over 600 State laws have been passed to combat domestic violence, and reported incidents of violence have decreased by 60 percent. Despite these successes, there's much work to be done, and all victims of domestic violence, including those in the LGBT community and those without documentation, must feel safe seeking help from our criminal justice system.