For the past 18 years, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) has saved lives and strengthened families throughout Colorado and the United States by changing the way we think about -- and respond to -- domestic violence. Every year, hundreds of Colorado women are affected by domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assaults and stalking, and VAWA is one of our vanguard tools in fighting back.
But that important work is in jeopardy. VAWA expired in September last year, and its reauthorization is languishing in the Senate due to partisan bickering over who should get protections as survivors of domestic violence. It is unacceptable to me that survivors of these awful crimes are being further victimized by the law. I'm calling on my colleagues in the Senate to put aside their differences and pass the reauthorization legislation now. It is imperative that we continue to provide critical resources to federal programs that are cracking down on these crimes and Colorado organizations serving survivors.
I have consistently supported VAWA programs and have voted twice to reauthorize VAWA. These programs have made a difference in the lives of millions of women all over the country by bringing perpetrators of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse to justice; providing safe and secure support services to victims of crimes; establishing a National Domestic Violence Hotline; and much more. In 2010 alone, almost 60,000 people contacted crisis hotlines in Colorado for help because of domestic violence.
Like many Coloradans, I am committed to ending violence against women. Help me encourage the Senate to work together to reauthorize VAWA and send this legislation to President Obama to sign into law this year. Colorado families and communities are counting on us.