Legislative Update: October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month


By:  Mike Ross
Date: Oct. 15, 2012
Location: Washington, DC

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It is an opportunity for us to raise awareness on an issue that affects far too many Americans every day. As we increase our nation's knowledge about domestic violence, we will give people the power to eliminate domestic violence and help ensure its victims have the resources they need to heal and seek justice.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, in the United States, 1.3 million women and 830,000 men are assaulted each year by people they believe love them. In a 2005 survey, the Centers for Disease Control found that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men are victims of domestic violence at some point throughout their lives. These statistics are even more sobering when we consider that domestic violence often goes unreported.

In October 1987, the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month was observed and in 1989 the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month Commemorative Legislation was passed by the U.S. Congress. Legislation like this has been passed in Congress every year since.

Throughout my time in Congress, I have been a strong supporter of efforts to reduce domestic violence and connect victims with those who can help. I'm proud to have helped pass the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2005. This important legislation reauthorized existing Violence Against Women Act programs and created many new programs to help end domestic violence and assist those affected by it.

The act encouraged collaboration between law enforcement, judicial personnel, and public and private service providers to aid victims of domestic and sexual violence. It also increases public awareness of domestic violence; addresses the special needs of victims of domestic and sexual violence, including the elderly, disabled, children, youth, and individuals of ethnic and racial communities; and authorizes long-term and transitional housing for victims. While it has had a significant impact, we need to do more.

Traditionally, both sides of the aisle have come together to support domestic violence legislation, and I hope that when Congress returns to Washington after the election, my colleagues will join me in reauthorizing a bipartisan Violence Against Women Act so that we can strengthen our efforts to address domestic violence across our country.

As your Congressman, I will never stop fighting to end domestic violence. While Congress has a role to play in ending domestic violence, all Americans can help to change the cycle of abuse. To learn more about what you can do to help, you can visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline on-line at www.TheHotline.org or by phone at 1-800-799-SAFE.

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