This year marks the 18th Anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act, authored by Vice President Joe Biden. During National Domestic Violence Awareness Month we can celebrate the progress we have made in changing laws and attitudes, providing support to survivors, and reducing the incidence of domestic violence. But we still have a long way to go, including reauthorizing the important Act which Republicans in Congress let expire.
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was first passed in 1994. It provided funding for clinics, shelters, hotlines for victims and tools for police to arrest and prosecute abusers and rapists. Since the passage of the Act, annual incidents of domestic violence have dropped by more than 60 percent.
The House attempt to reauthorize this bill weakened longstanding bipartisan measures to protect victims. Women's group nationwide opposed this bill. I also opposed this bill. The Senate passed a bipartisan bill upholding these protections, which I would have supported.
Without agreement between the House and the Senate, this bill stands still. I will continue to fight for these protections and work with my colleagues to pass a bipartisan bill that safeguards victims of domestic and sexual violence.
We absolutely cannot sit back and watch these long-standing, important provisions disappear. As a former prosecutor, I know how important it is to maintain these protections. We must ensure safety measures are in place and resources are available for the security of everyone in our communities. I will continue to fight for the women of western Wisconsin.