Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) issued the following statement on the anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) which was signed into law 18 years ago.
"The Violence Against Women Act was signed into law 18 years ago today. This bipartisan law provides the critical services and programs that have led to a 50% decrease in domestic violence since 1994 when President Clinton signed VAWA into law.
"I'm ashamed to say that 18 years later, with a successful track record of a program that saves lives, the House of Representatives under Republican leadership is playing politics with VAWA and preventing the legislation from reauthorization.
"Since VAWA was originally enacted, reporting of domestic violence has increased as much as 51%. More victims are coming forward and receiving lifesaving services to help them move from crisis to stability.
"VAWA has successfully encouraged communities to coordinate their responses to violence against women by bringing together victim advocates, law enforcement, the courts, health care professionals, and leaders within faith communities.
"All homes should be safe and free from domestic violence. We should support the broadest protections possible for all women, children, and partners. Yet last spring, for the first time, VAWA faced partisan opposition from House Republicans who objected to new initiatives agreed to in the Senate that would protect immigrants, Native Americans, students, and the LGBT community from abuse.
"Domestic violence does not discriminate against race, gender, age, marital status, or economic status. Restricting services to any victim of violence in the home is untenable. A black eye isn't gender specific.
"I hope the two versions of the legislation will be reconciled and sent to President Obama for his signature before the November elections."