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Wilson Welcomes Signing of Violence Against Women Reauthorization

Location: Washington, DC

Wilson Welcomes Signing of Violence Against Women Reauthorization

Original Cosponsor Hails Signing of Act Reducing Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault

Washington, DC - Congresswoman Heather Wilson, an original cosponsor of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), welcomed the signing into law of the Act authorizing funding for programs that reduce crimes of sexual assault and domestic violence.

Wilson supported the Department of Justice (DOJ) Authorization Act (H.R. 3402), passed in the House by voice vote on December 19, 2005, which renews this important public safety program. Wilson is an original co-sponsor of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2005 (H.R. 2876), the provisions of which were included and passed last summer as part of the overall reauthorization of Department of Justice programs. Wilson was also an original cosponsor of the Violence Against Women Act when it passed in September of 2000.

"As a direct result of the Violence Against Women legislation, there are more investigations, more prosecutions and tougher penalties for domestic violence and sexual assault," said Wilson, who visited the Albuquerque Rape Crisis Center in October to highlight the need to renew these programs. "These programs help rebuild lives and protect women and children."

"These important grants and programs are part of our commitment to providing women and children with safety from the fear and tragedy of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse."

"The Violence Against Women Act came into being in 1994 and indicated a huge shift nationally as we focused on the challenges women face," says Bette Fleishman, the Executive Director of the Albuquerque Rape Crisis Center. "Anybody can be a victim of violence: your mom, your sister, your wife, your daughter. The resources we get through the federal government enhance our ability to help victims of domestic violence or sexual assault in our communities. We met with Rep. Wilson just two days ago and appreciate her understanding of the challenges we face."

Over the years, the violence against women grant programs through the Department of Justice have awarded more than $1 billion in grant funds, through more than 1,250 discretionary grants and 350 STOP (Services, Training, Officers, Prosecutors) formula grants throughout the country. These grant programs help state, tribal, and local governments and community-based agencies to train personnel, establish specialized domestic violence and sexual assault units, assist victims of violence, and hold perpetrators accountable.

The bill signed this week by the President reauthorizes the program and strengthens aspects of it. The Violence Against Women legislation addresses the impact of domestic violence on children, campus crime, rape and sexual assault prevention, insurance discrimination, domestic violence training for medical personnel, workplace safety, problems faced by older women and disabled women, legal services eligibility, and the safety of battered women.

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