Stories of domestic violence in our society are all too common. Studies show that a staggering 1 in 4 women will be affected by domestic violence in their lifetime. Unfortunately, our state tops the list for these crimes--ranking in the top 20 nationally for domestic violence homicides in 2010. As the father of a teenage daughter, I'm stunned and outraged by the severity of this violence. That's why I've taken steps to support and implement life-saving measures to stop the cycle of abuse.
In 1994, Congress enacted the Violence Against Women Act, a bipartisan bill to hold offenders accountable and provide supportive services to victims of domestic violence. By strengthening federal penalties for offenders, enforcing protective orders, and establishing the National Domestic Violence Hotline--among other things--this bill helped decrease the rate of violence against women by more than 50%.
While great strides have been made, there's no question that more work needs to done. That's why I signed on as a cosponsor of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act in 2012, and again this week. In addition to giving law enforcement the tools they need to protect women, this bill will provide coordinated, community-based services and housing protection for victims. Even better, VAWA will increase government accountability so we can ensure our federal funds are helping those who need it most.
The time to act is now. Please spread the word, and encourage your representatives in the Senate and House to support this bill and keep women and children safe.