U.S. Senator Chris Coons, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and co-chair of the Senate Law Enforcement Caucus, issued the following statement on Monday marking October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
"Domestic violence and sexual assault are evils that transcend race, class, gender and sexual orientation, and are present in every community in America. When we shine a light on these evils by educating the public, empowering the victims, and punishing the offenders, we can help break the cycle of abuse.
"We've made great inroads against abuse since Domestic Violence Awareness Month was first observed 25 years ago in large part because of the Violence Against Women Act. Public awareness and victims' services programs supported by VAWA have led to a 51 percent increase in reporting by women and a 37 percent increase in reporting by men. VAWA programs provide critical aid and support to victims and their families, as well as resources and training for the law enforcement and advocate communities. The continuation of these critical programs is in jeopardy, however, because the U.S. House of Representatives refuses to take up the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which the Senate passed with strong bipartisan support in April. This obstruction by House Republicans is putting lives at risk and communities in jeopardy.
"As we pause to observe Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I encourage Delawareans who feel threatened or know someone who is in a dangerous environment to call the Department of Correction's Victim Services Unit at (302) 857-5440, or, if in immediate danger, call 911. Speaking out and asking for help is how we shine a light on the evils of domestic violence and help to end abuse in our communities."