A VOTE FOR H.R. 4970 IS A VOTE AGAINST VAWA AND AGAINST ALL VICTIMS OF VIOLENCE!

TOMORROW (May 16), the House will vote on H.R. 4970 and House Majority Leadership is not allowing ANY amendments to the bill. We only have 2 more days to tell our Representatives: the Adams bill (H.R. 4970) is dangerous for victims of violence, excludes vulnerable communities and protects abusers. It is not the real VAWA.  Please stand up for all victims of violence and oppose H.R. 4970. If Congress cannot stand up for all victims, we cannot stand up for our Representatives.

 

TAKE ACTION!!

 

ACTION 1:  Continue to call the DC and district offices of every Representative in Congress TO OPPOSE H.R. 4970.  Tell them about or send them today’s New York Times editorial, “Backward on Domestic Violence.”

ACTION 2:  Call House leadership and tell them that H.R. 4970 HARMS VICTIMS and ask them to allow an amendment on the House floor that is THE REAL VAWA or face the anger of their constituents.

ACTION 3:  National Organizations and statewide coalitions must continue to send letters to the whole House and to their individual Representatives in their states DENOUNCING H.R. 4970. Please sign onto a letter drafted the National Task from national groups opposing H.R.4970 by 3pm today.

 

ACTION 1:  PLEASE CONTACT – BY PHONE, EMAIL OR IN PERSON VISIT - THE DISTRICT OFFICE OF YOUR CONGRESS PERSON AND TELL THEM: 

We strongly oppose the Adams bill. The House Judiciary Committee’s passage of H.R. 4970 on Tuesday is NOT a victory – it HARMS victims of violence.  We believe that a YES vote on H.R. 4970 is anti-victim and a NO vote on VAWA.  We oppose the Adams bill because it is NOT the REAL VAWA, it doesn’t include protections for all victims and it rolls back protections for victims of violence. It is DANGEROUS for survivors of violence.   We support a bill like the bi-partisan Senate bill that protects Native victims, immigrant victims, LGBT victims and other marginalized communities.  We do not think the House Judiciary Committee passed a REAL VAWA and we need the House leadership to support ALL victims. The House Judiciary Committee allowed no chance to discuss humane alternatives that treat victims with respect and decency. There is bipartisan support in the House for a reauthorization of VAWA that more closely resembles the Senate-passed bill (S. 1925) and Members should have a chance to weigh the merits of any and all alternatives to the Adams bill before they vote for final passage of VAWA.   

 

Find your Representative here. This conversation needs to happen in EVERY DISTRICT OFFICE.    Use the National Task Force’s toolkit  to help with your advocacy!  Use our talking points about H.R. 4970 and how it’s DANGEROUS for victims that are at the end of this e-blast.

 

If your Member is below, these are the Republican women who did NOT sponsor the harmful Adams bill.  Ask them to stand up and oppose the Adams bill and demand an alternative.

Biggert, Judy   (R-IL),(202) 225-3515  

Hayworth, Nan  (R-NY), (202) 225-5441      

Herrera Beutler, Jaime  (R-WA), (202) 225-3536     

Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana   (R-FL), (202) 225-3931 

 

ACTION 2:  CALL HOUSE LEADERSHIP AND TELL THEM THAT YOU THINK H.R. 4970 HARMS VICTIMS AND IS NOT THE REAL VAWA.  LET THEM KNOW IT IS CRUEL TO PROHIBIT ANY AMENDMENTS AND THAT ALL VICTIMS DESERVE OPEN DEBATE ON THE HOUSE FLOOR:

Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), (202) 225-0600 (Leadership Office), (202) 225-6205 (Personal Office), (513) 779-5400 (Westchester District Office), (937) 339-1524 (Troy District Office)

Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), (202) 225-4000

Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), (202) 225-2915

 

ACTION 3:  NATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS AND STATEWIDE COALITIONS SHOUD SEND A LETTER TO THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND TO THEIR STATE’S U.S. REPRESENTATIVES DENOUNCING H.R. 4970

Please use the National Task Force’s toolkit in your advocacy or tweak the language from this excellent op-ed published in The Post Standard.

 

Thank you! 

  • We’ve had over 41,000 visits to our website!  Continue to check out our website for fact sheets, press coverage, support letters and updates.
  • We have more than 1,200 “likes” on Facebook!  Check out and “like” our Facebook page where you can find a toolkit and other action and information items.
  • Don’t forget to tweet about VAWA using the hashtags #ReauthorizeVAWA, #RealVAWA and #VAWA.
  • If you aren't on one of the VAWA email lists or want to add members of your staff or state/community leaders to our grassroots alerts e-mailing list, send names and contact information including email to Sean Black, sblack@icasa.org.

A YES VOTE ON H.R. 4970 IS A VOTE AGAINST VAWA AND AGAINST ALL VICTIMS OF VIOLENCE

Please consider signing your organization onto the attached letter drafted by the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women opposing the Adams VAWA bill (H.R. 4970) headed to the House floor for a vote next week. Visit www.jwi.org/vawaletter and circulate this letter to your networks. The deadline for sign on is Monday May 14th at 3pm.

 

It’s Time To Go In-District And Tell Your Representative: The Adams Bill (H.R. 4970) Is Dangerous For Victims Of Violence and Protects Abusers. It Is Not The Real VAWA!

On Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee marked up and passed the Adams (R-FL) version of VAWA, H.R. 4970.  This bill is DANGEROUS to victims and survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking

The only way that we will be able to defeat it is if we make clear to every Representative in every district that they CANNOT support this bill.  We have to tell them:  you MUST stand up for EVERY victim of violence by OPPOSING H.R. 4970 – and if you don’t, we can’t stand up for you.

TAKE ACTION!!

ACTION 1:  PLEASE CONTACT – BY PHONE, EMAIL OR IN PERSON VISIT - THE DISTRICT OFFICE OF YOUR CONGRESS PERSON AND TELL THEM TO OPPOSE H.R. 4970

ACTION 2:  CALL HOUSE LEADERSHIP AND TELL THEM THAT YOU THINK H.R. 4970 HARMS VICTIMS AND IS NOT THE REAL VAWA  

ACTION 3:  NATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS AND STATEWIDE COALITIONS SHOUD SEND A LETTER TO THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND TO THEIR STATE’S U.S. REPRESENTATIVES DENOUNCING H.R. 4970

ACTION 4:  SEND A LETTER TO THE EDITOR TO YOUR NEWSPAPERS!

 

ACTION 1:  PLEASE CONTACT – BY PHONE, EMAIL OR IN PERSON VISIT - THE DISTRICT OFFICE OF YOUR CONGRESS PERSON AND TELL THEM: 

We strongly oppose the Adams bill. The House Judiciary Committee’s passage of H.R. 4970 on Tuesday is NOT a victory – it HARMS victims of violence.  We believe that a YES vote on H.R. 4970 is anti-victim and a NO vote on VAWA.  We oppose the Adams bill because it is NOT the REAL VAWA, it doesn’t include protections for all victims and it rolls back protections for victims of violence. It is DANGEROUS for survivors of violence.   We support a bill like the bi-partisan Senate bill that protects Native victims, immigrant victims, LGBT victims and other marginalized communities.  We do not think the House Judiciary Committee passed a REAL VAWA and we need the House leadership to support ALL victims. The House Judiciary Committee allowed no chance to discuss humane alternatives that treat victims with respect and decency. There is bipartisan support in the House for a reauthorization of VAWA that more closely resembles the Senate-passed bill (S. 1925) and Members should have a chance to weigh the merits of any and all alternatives to the Adams bill before they vote for final passage of VAWA.   

 

Find your Representative here. This conversation needs to happen in EVERY DISTRICT OFFICE.    Use the National Task Force’s toolkit  to help with your advocacy!  Use our talking points about H.R. 4970 and how it’s DANGEROUS for victims that are at the end of this e-blast.

 

EVERY Representative needs to hear from us, but here are the ones that need to hear from us FIRST! 

Biggert, Judy   (R-IL),(202) 225-3515  

Hayworth, Nan  (R-NY), (202) 225-5441      

Herrera Beutler, Jaime  (R-WA), (202) 225-3536     

Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana   (R-FL), (202) 225-3931 

 

ACTION 2:  CALL HOUSE LEADERSHIP AND TELL THEM THAT YOU THINK H.R. 4970 HARMS VICTIMS AND IS NOT THE REAL VAWA:  

Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), (202) 225-0600 (Leadership Office), (202) 225-6205 (Personal Office), (513) 779-5400 (Westchester District Office), (937) 339-1524 (Troy District Office)

Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), (202) 225-4000

Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), (202) 225-2915

and say: 

We strongly oppose the Adams bill. The House Judiciary Committee’s passage of H.R. 4970 on Tuesday is NOT a victory – it HARMS victims of violence.  We believe that a YES vote on H.R. 4970 is anti-victim and a NO vote on VAWA.  We oppose the Adams bill because it is NOT the REAL VAWA, it doesn’t include protections for all victims and it rolls back protections for victims of violence. It is DANGEROUS for survivors of violence.   We support a bill like the bi-partisan Senate bill that protects Native victims, immigrant victims, LGBT victims and other marginalized communities.  We do not think the House Judiciary Committee passed a REAL VAWA and we need the House leadership to support ALL victims. The House Judiciary Committee allowed no chance to discuss humane alternatives that treat victims with respect and decency. There is bipartisan support in the House for a reauthorization of VAWA that more closely resembles the Senate-passed bill (S. 1925) and Members should have a chance to weigh the merits of any and all alternatives to the Adams bill before they vote for final passage of VAWA.  National organizations that support victims and survivors of violence will support your NO vote on H.R. 4970.  Instead, please demand an open debate on the floor.    

 

ACTION 3:  NATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS AND STATEWIDE COALITIONS SHOUD SEND A LETTER TO THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND TO THEIR STATE’S U.S. REPRESENTATIVES DENOUNCING H.R. 4970

National organizations and statewide coalitions should send this letter to your state’s U.S. Representative.  Members who support our position and oppose the Adams bill will appreciate this support and can mention your letter to explain their vote against the bill and show your support from their home state.

 

[FOR YOUR STATE]

The Honorable

U.S. House of Representatives

ADDRESS

We, [the undersigned organization], represent[ victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking, and the professionals who serve them, throughout the United States and territories].   We would like to express our strong opposition to H.R. 4970, the bill introduced by Rep. Sandy Adams (R-FL) to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). 

As you know, Congress has recognized the severity of violence against women and our need for a national strategy since the enactment of the Violence Against Women Act in 1994.   Over the last 18 years, this landmark federal legislation’s comprehensive approach to violence against women has had dramatic results.  As a snapshot, VAWA funds are used to:

  • train over 500,000 law enforcement personnel every year,
  • support sexual assault services in every state; once victims receive advocate-assisted services following assaults, rape survivors were 59% more likely to have police reports taken than survivors without advocates whose reports were only taken 41% of the time, and
  • support programs that actually reduce homicides; as an example, between 1993 and 2007, the rate of intimate partner homicides of females decreased by 35% and the rate of intimate partner homicides of males decreased 46%.

We[everyone in our state/our organization] all support a strong, bipartisan VAWA reauthorization bill similar to what the Senate passed last month, which would continue the life-saving protections and services needed by victims and their families.  Again, H.R. 4970, which recently passed out of the House Judiciary Committee by a near party-line vote, would be a rollback of years of progress and likely increase the women and children who could be hurt.  While we respect Congresswoman Adams’ personal commitment to the issue of violence against women and girls, we must oppose this harmful bill.  The bill is genuinely dangerous in terms of its impact on immigrant women and their families. It includes damaging provisions that create obstacles for immigrant victims wanting to report crimes, increases danger for immigrant victims by eliminating important confidentiality protections, and undermines effective anti-fraud protections already built into the legislation. 

Also troubling is that the bill, while embracing many elements of the bipartisan reauthorization that recently passed the Senate, excludes key improvements that were added to the Senate reauthorization.  It expressly rejects protections for men and women who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender and eliminates strong protections and justice for women and children who are beaten or abused on Tribal lands by perpetrators who are not members of a particular tribe. 

A yes vote on H.R. 4970 is a NO vote on VAWA – a YES vote is anti-victim.  We respectfully request that you reconsider opposing this legislation and instead focus on developing a bipartisan bill modeled after S. 1925, the bipartisan Senate-passed version of VAWA.

Please allow open debate on the House floor when you bring up VAWA for a vote.  Members must have a chance to weigh the merits of any and all alternatives to the Adams bill before they vote for final passage of VAWA. Thank you for your consideration. If you have any questions please feel free to contact ____________________ with any questions you might have.

Sincerely,

You can find your state’s Representatives here.

 

ACTION 4:  SEND THIS LETTER TO THE EDITOR TO YOUR NEWSPAPERS!

If you can’t get through to your Representatives, or if they are reluctant to discuss the Adams bill or think it’s just fine and can’t imagine why they’d vote against it, send a letter to the editor of your local newspaper (find your state’s news contacts here by clicking on the map.  Feel free to use your own words and mention specifics in your community.

“The House of Representatives will be debating the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act within the week – as early as Tuesday or Wednesday – and our Representative,  (their name) has the chance to truly stand up for the thousands of victims of sexual assault and domestic violence here in our community.  The Republican leadership is promoting a bill,  H.R. 4970, sponsored by Rep. Adams (R-FL) that goes backwards for some VAWA provisions, endangers immigrant victim’s lives and completely omits groups and provisions that the Senate included in its recently-passed (68 – 31) bipartisan bill..  Those of us who work with and care about justice for the survivors of violence are asking Rep _________ to vote against this bill.  H.R. 4970.  It  is not the “real VAWA” and anyone who pretends that it is will have all of us in communities across the nation to answer to.  We ask that Rep _____________encourages the House leadership to give the House a chance to at least discuss amendments that bring humane alternatives to the floor that treat victims with respect and decency. If VAWA is to pass this year, we need a House bill that is closer to the Senate bill so that there’s hope for a conference committee between the House and Senate that is not rife with partisan bickering.  We hope Rep will stand with ALL victims, vote against the Adams bill and promote a VAWA that holds true to the promise of the landmark 1994 bipartisan Act."

 

FACTS TO USE IN YOUR ADVOCACY:

 

Audit requirements are excessive, burdensome and costly AND DIVERT PRECIOUS GRANT DOLLARS FROM DIRECT SERVICES TO BUREAUCRACY.

  • Since its enactment, VAWA has included important reporting and oversight provisions both for grantees and for the Department of Justice (“DoJ”).
  • In separate letters addressed to Congressman Poe and Senator Leahy, DoJ has reported that “VAWA grants are being used effectively for their intended purpose,” that “grant management and grantee recordkeeping are generally sound,” and that when auditing problems arise, they are “not about waste, fraud or abuse, but rather about inadequate accounting and insufficient documentation” and are quickly resolved.
  • The resources required to implement this substantial new audit requirement would be better spent on technical assistance and financial training for the hundreds of small police departments, courts, and non-profits who are OVW grantees.

 

Excludes lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) victims.

The bill excludes LGBTQ survivors entirely despite the great need for support and services and the gap in meeting this need as determined by a coalition of more than 1,000 organization and groups.

  • LGBTQ people face domestic violence at the same rates as other community:  25-33%.  Yet, a 2011 survey found that nearly 85% of service providers worked with LGBT clients who reported that they were turned away or denied services because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.  In a 2010 report, nearly half of LGBTQ survivors were turned away from domestic violence shelter and nearly a quarter are mis-arrested as the primary aggressor by local law enforcement.  More than 55% of LGBTQ survivors were denied orders of protection and only 7% of all victims reported violence to the police.
  • LGBTQ people are underserved because of their sexual orientation and gender identity, not just their gender, and should be included in this Act explicitly and not through a “gender neutral” approach that does not remove to the barriers created by homophobia
  • Lesbians are not turned away from shelter or services because they are women, but because they are lesbians. While there are already provisions in VAWA that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, gay men continue to be denied services and to have their relationships minimized, being told that theirs is an issue of battery not domestic violence. Transgender people are not turned away because of their sex assigned at birth but because of their gender presentation and expression that service providers do not understand and therefore cannot address.  VAWA must protect all victims of violence.  LGBTQ victims of violence face barriers and stigma in seeking services when they are victimized by domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault or stalking.
  • Simply making VAWA gender neutral in STOP provisions will not give the Office on Violence Against Women or State STOP Administrators enough specificity about Congress’s intent to protect LGBTQ victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking.  Much of VAWA is already gender neutral but still many State STOP Administrators interpret VAWA to exclude LGBTQ programs.  This VAWA can give State STOP Administrators the direction they need to protect all victims.
  • In a recent poll, testing three LGBT provisions that were added to the Senate VAWA bill, sixty-two percent of respondents support “including gays and lesbians in the group that is protected under this law,” compared with only 30 percent who are opposed to that addition. Among women, 67 percent support expanding the law to cover gays and lesbians, as do 77 percent of respondents ages 18-29 and 69 percent of those 18-49.

 

Limits the U visa program, barring the use of unused visas, AND WILL PUNISH victims WHO WORK with law enforcement to bring perpetrators to justice.

  • Victims of crime should be able to work with law enforcement to bring perpetrators to justice. Limiting the U-visa certification process will discourage victims from coming forward and cooperating with law enforcement. Yet law enforcement tells us that failing to report crimes like these only exacerbates their negative impact on the community. Considering that many who commit U-visa crimes are serial perpetrators, law enforcement wants victims to come forward regardless of whether there is an active investigation or prosecution has begun .
  • Restrictive certification requirements discourage cooperation with law enforcement.  Victims who were hurt even long ago can provide useful information in holding serial perpetrators accountable.  This is true for citizen victims as well as immigrant victims. Research on reporting also shows that this would hurt sexual assault victims the most.

 

Erodes important provisions for immigrant victims’ safety and GIVES ABUSERS ADDITIONAL TOOLS WITH WHICH TO HARM VICTIMS.

  • Amendments allowing the alleged abuser access to the self-petition process creates a chilling effect on victims’ help-seeking.  Abusers who could have adjusted the status of their spouse and chose not to as a tool of abuse and fear will be in a position to block the victim’s access to this critical remedy for battered immigrants. Informing and allowing alleged abusers to provide input in these cases puts victims at risk of retaliation. Abusers frequently deny the abuse and falsely accuse victims of fraud or abuse. It increases motives for abusers to contact ICE to try to stop their spouse from getting legal status.
  • Shifting the self-petition process to local offices is duplicative, expensive, and does not address concerns about fraud. Adding an additional interview requirement is unnecessary, would be very costly and would require extensive training on domestic violence and sexual assault at USCIS offices across the country. Currently, the specialized USCIS center that adjudicates these applications is trained to weigh the evidence and ferret out fraud and can request additional evidence if necessary. Additionally, self-petition applicants have to attend an interview at their local offices to adjust their status to lawful permanent residence. The double interview requirement places an extra hurdle for victims of abuse not required for other applicants for status.
  • Adding an interview process to VAWA cancellation of removal hearings to local offices is duplicative and expensive. In VAWA cancellation of removal cases, the petitioner appears at hearings with an immigration judge, so a separate interview places an unnecessary burden. Adding an interview process to VAWA cancellation hearings will slow immigration court cases down immensely, bogging down the court calendar further.

Fails to address the crisis of violence against American Indian women by not recognizing tribal court authority to hold perpetrators accountable.

  • Indian women face rates of violent victimization more than double that of non-Indian women; the USDOJ estimate that 1 of 3 Indian women will be raped, and that 2 of 5 will be the victims of domestic violence.
  • The USDOJ also reports that 4 of 5 Indian victims of sexual assault described their assailant as white; 3 of 4 Indian victims of intimate violence describe the offender as a person of a different race. 
  • These numbers evidence a jurisdictional gap allowing non-Indians to beat and rape Indian women on tribal lands knowing the tribal government has no legal authority to criminally prosecute non-Indians.  The Department has testified that this system of justice is insufficient to address the epidemic of violence against Native.
  • Tribal courts must have the authority to hold non-Indians living on tribal lands or working for Indian tribes that commit domestic violence against an Indian women accountable to create safe communities.  Tribal Courts must also have the clear authority to prosecute non-Indian offenders that violate an order of protection.
  • State courts and state law enforcement have said very clearly that they cannot take on the responsibility of addressing this horrific level of victimization. The federal government also lacks the resources to address this problem alone, as evidenced by the incredibly low federal prosecution rates in Indian Country.
  • The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and the Conference of Chief Justices have adopted policies recognizing the sovereign jurisdiction of tribal courts, and are committed to supporting tribal courts in their efforts to protect the women who are victimized on their lands holding offenders accountable.

 

Undermines the strength of the lifesaving housing protections in VAWA

Emergency transfers:

  • One of the most pressing needs identified by victims and their advocates is the ability to relocate/transfer to a safe home to escape violence. 
  • The housing emergency relocation and transfer section in VAWA should (as it does in the Senate passed S.1925) require that owners, managers and public housing agencies (PHAs)  adopt the transfer plan developed by federal agencies. 
  • HR 4970 makes the adoption of such a plan voluntary by owners, managers and PHAs, essentially undermining the remaining components of this potentially lifesaving provision. 

Notice of rights:

  • The housing rights codified by VAWA protect victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking from eviction or denial of benefit based on their status as victims and/or the actions of their perpetrators. 
  • In order to enjoy these rights and avoid unlawful eviction, notice of VAWA rights should be distributed at key times, specifically at eviction.  Without adequate notice, victims will never know they have the right not to be evicted based on the actions of their perpetrators or as a result of violence/assault. 
  • By giving notice at eviction, owners, managers and PHAs can help victims come forward and avoid costly, contentious and unnecessary eviction proceedings. 
  • HR 4970 does not require notice at eviction, unlike the Senate passed S. 1925

 

Fails to include key provisions needed to help reduce violence against young women.

  • Institutions would have to  include in their annual campus crime reports statistics on domestic violence, dating violence and stalking (sexual assault is already in the Clery Act) reported on campus and would have to provide clear statements regarding the procedures followed when a case of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault or stalking is reported.
  • Victims would be required to receive a written an explanation of their rights any time they report being a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault or stalking, including:
    • victim’s right to notify (or not notify) law enforcement if they choose to do so;
    • obligation of institution to help the victim report the incident to law enforcement and seek a protective order from a local court;
    • victim’s options regarding changing academic, living, transportation and working situations, if the victim so requests and such accommodations are reasonably available
  • Institutions would have to establish clear, prompt and equitable procedures for on-campus disciplinary action in cases of alleged domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault or stalking
  • Would provide both the victim and the accused with the right to have another person present at disciplinary proceedings
  • Would provide prevention programs teaching all students, male and female, how to help prevent sexual violence and dating violence, including bystander education.

Harsh mandatory minimum sentences on a number of crimes would have a chilling effect on victim reporting and would not help to hold perpetrators accountable.

  • Long mandatory minimum sentences can keep victims who were assaulted by someone they know from reporting the crime.
  • Mandatory minimums for sex offenders are likely to result in pleas to non-sex offense crimes. The individuals will then not be identified as sex offenders for purposes of registration, treatment, etc.
  • The American Bar Association, the Judicial Conference of the United States and every major organization focusing on criminal justice opposes mandatory minimum sentences.
  • A 2008 poll found that fully 78 percent of Americans agree that courts, not Congress, should determine an individual’s sentence.
  • Expanded use of prison sentences for drug crimes and longer sentences required by mandatory minimums have caused a dramatic increase in state and federal corrections costs. State corrections spending jumped from $6 billion in 1982 to over $50 billion in 2008.
  • None of these proposals were vetted, much less approved by the field of advocates whose proposal forms the basis of S. 1925, the Leahy-Crapo VAWA reauthorization bill. These proposals are solutions in search of problems, and will only serve to exacerbate the already existing problem of prison overcrowding. 

Media Advisory:
Press Teleconference on the State of Women and Immigrant Rights
in the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization Process

HOUSE BILL ROLLS BACK PROTECTIONS AND PLACES IMMIGRANT VICTIMS IN GRAVE DANGER

What: Members of the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence will be joined by U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky to explain how HR4970, the House Republican version of the Violence Against Women reauthorization bill, guts the historically bipartisan bill and puts women and immigrant victims of violence in danger.

When: Friday, May 11, 2012, at 10:30 a.m. Eastern/9:30 a.m. Central/ 7:30 a.m. Pacific

Call-in information:
Title: Violence Against Women Act
Dial: 1.800.434.1335    Conference Code: 316641#

Who:
U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)
Rob Valente, spokesperson, National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence
Mony Ruiz-Velasco, director of legal services, National Immigrant Justice Center; immigration co-chair, National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence
Rosie Hidalgo, director of public policy, Casa de Esperanza
Eric Sigmon, director for advocacy, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
Erica, immigrant mother who was able to leave her abusive husband thanks to VAWA

Why:
This week the U.S. Congress House Judiciary Committee, in a 17-15 vote, passed HR4970, a bill reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Contrary to its name and the long history and spirit of VAWA, HR4970 rolls back protections and places immigrant victims in grave danger at the hands of their abusers. The bill eliminates important provisions that, for almost 20 years, have successfully provided protection to immigrant victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and trafficking.

HR4970 places immigrant victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, and other violent crimes in danger of further harm and would make critical VAWA protections, including the U visa, nearly inaccessible for many victims. Under HR4970, immigration officials can get input from abusers about their victims’ case, alerting perpetrators to the fact that their victims are seeking protection, and potentially triggering additional violence against the victims. Victims who are able to secure U visas would lose their status after a few years, leaving victims vulnerable to brutal retaliation.

The National Task force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence is  a  diverse coalition of  sexual assault and  domestic violence prevention groups which has worked for more than two years, with the input of law enforcement, community-based organizations, medical professionals and others, to advise Congress regarding changes needed to improve VAWA.

 

 

 

Thank you! 

  • We’ve had over 40,000 visits to our website!  Continue to check out our website for fact sheets, press coverage, support letters and updates.
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TELL THE HOUSE THE ADAMS BILL (H.R. 4970) IS NOT THE REAL VAWA!

THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE PASSED A BILL THAT IS DANGEROUS FOR VICTIMS OF VIOLENCE AND PROTECTS ABUSERS:  TELL THE HOUSE THE ADAMS BILL (H.R. 4970) IS NOT THE REAL VAWA!

On Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee marked up and passed the Adams (R-FL) version of VAWA, H.R. 4970.  The National Task Force and our thousands of community activists all across the nation have worked very hard in the last few weeks to defeat this harmful bill that sets back the clock on VAWA, hurts and excludes survivors of violence and in some cases gives more rights to perpetrators than victims. In a near party-line 17-15 vote, one Member, Representative Ted Poe (R-TX), crossed the aisle and stood firmly with the field and on the side of victims. As Co-Chair of the Victims' Rights Caucus, he joined VAWA’s Democratic champions and voted against the bill.

We applaud Mr. Poe and the Democratic Members of the Committee for standing with victims. The National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women, a coalition representing thousands of organizations, service providers, researchers, educators, religious leaders, law enforcement, advocacy groups and victims all across the nation, continues to have grave concerns about this legislation that contains punitive provisions that will harm victims and exclude key communities.

In the committee markup, a substitute amendment offered by Ranking Member John Conyers (D-MI) that closely mirrors the bipartisan Senate-passed bill was not even allowed to be considered or debated. Numerous amendments were offered by our House champions to improve the Adams bill by including vulnerable communities such as Native women, LGBTQ victims, and immigrant victims, and striking mandatory minimum sentencing, but these amendments were consistently defeated by the House Committee Majority. Despite these disappointing results, the National Task Force will now turn our efforts to the full House of Representatives in order to pass an inclusive VAWA that is a real step forward for all victims of violence. That vote could be as early as next week so champions of the “real VAWA” have their work cut out for them.

Several Members of Congress are touting yesterday’s passage as a VICTORY for victims of domestic and sexual violence but it is NOT – the Adams bill, H.R. 4970, harms victims and empowers abusers.  We must tell our legislators that we strongly oppose the Adams bill. Tell your friends, family and loved ones to call too! WE NEED TO FLOOD REPRESENTATIVES’ OFFICES WITH CALLS!

 

ACTION 1:  CALL HOUSE LEADERSHIP AND TELL THEM THAT YOU THINK THAT H.R. 4970 HARMS VICTIMS AND IS NOT THE REAL VAWA.

Message:

“The House Judiciary Committee’s passage of H.R. 4970 on Tuesday is NOT a victory – it HARMS victims of violence and empowers abusers.  We oppose the Adams bill because it is NOT the REAL VAWA, it doesn’t include protections for all victims, and it rolls back protections for victims that have been in VAWA since 1994. It is DANGEROUS for survivors of violence.  We support a bill like the bi-partisan Senate bill that protects Native victims, immigrant victims, LGBT victims and other marginalized communities. We do not think the House Judiciary Committee passed a REAL VAWA. We need the House leadership to support ALL victims”

 

Contact Information:

Speaker John Boehner (R-OH),

  • (202) 225-0600 (Leadership Office),
  • (202) 225-6205 (Personal Office),
  • (513) 779-5400 (Westchester District Office),
  • (937) 339-1524 (Troy District Office)

Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), (202) 2254000
Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), (202) 225-2915

 

ACTION 2:  CALL ALL THOSE WHO VOTED IN FAVOR OF H.R. 4970 AND TELL THEM THEY ARE HARMING VICTIMS AND EMPOWERING ABUSERS WITH THEIR VOTE.

Message:

“Your vote for H.R. 4970 on Tuesday was WRONG – it HARMS victims of violence.  We oppose the Adams bill because it is NOT the REAL VAWA, it doesn’t include protections for all victims and it rolls back protections for victims of violence. It is DANGEROUS for survivors of violence.   We support a bill like the bi-partisan Senate bill that protects Native victims, immigrant victims, LGBT victims and other marginalized communities.  We do not think the House Judiciary Committee passed a REAL VAWA and we need you to support ALL victims.”

Use the Capital switchboard number (202) 224-3121 to call:

Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX)

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI)

Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-CA)

Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)

Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA)

Rep.  Steve Chabot (R-OH)

Rep.  Darrell Issa (R-CA)

Rep.  Randy Forbes (R-VA)

Rep.  Steve King (R-IA)

Rep.  Trent Frank (R-AZ)

Rep.  Jim Jordan (R-OH)

Rep.  Tim Griffin (R-AR)

Rep.  Thomas Marino (R-PA)

Rep.  Trey Gowdy (R-SC)

Rep.  Mike Ross (R-AR)

Rep.  Sandy Adams (R-FL)

Rep.  Mark Amodei (R-NV)

 

ACTION 3: CALL THESE WOMEN REPRESENTATIVES WHO HAVE NOT SIGNED ON TO H.R. 4970 AND URGE THEM TO SUPPORT OPEN DEBATE ON THE HOUSE FLOOR:

Message:

“Thank you for NOT co-sponsoring the Adams VAWA bill (H.R. 4970).  We think this bill is DANGEROUS for victims of violence and empowers abusers.  Instead, please support open debate on the House floor when the bill is brought up for discussion and a vote sometime in the weeks ahead.”

Contact Information:

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), (202) 225-2331, Staffer: Katie Poedtke, Renee Doyle

Rep. Judy Biggert (R-IL), (202) 225-3515, Staffer: Cade Clurman

Rep. Nan Hayworth (R-NY), (202) 225-5441, Staffer: Elyse O'Brien

Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), (202) 225-3536, Staffer: Jessica Wixson

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), (202) 225-3931, Staffer: Guillermo Vallejo

 

ACTION 4:  CALL ALL OF THE LEGISLATORS WHO VOTED AGAINST ADAMS’ HARMFUL BILL AND THANK THEM – ESPECIALLY CONGRESSMAN TED POE (R-TX) WHO CROSSED PARTY LINES TO DO IT!

Message:

“Thank you for NOT sponsoring the Adams VAWA bill (H.R. 4970) and for standing up for ALL victims. The Adams bill is DANGEROUS for victims of violence. It is NOT the REAL VAWA, it doesn’t include protections for all victims and it rolls back protections for victims that have been in VAWA since 1994. Help us support a bill like the bi-partisan Senate bill that protects Native victims, immigrant victims, LGBT victims and other marginalized communities.   Please support open debate on the House floor when the bill is brought up for discussion and a vote sometime in the weeks ahead.”

Use the Capital switchboard number (202) 224-3121 to call:

Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) – Thank him for crossing party lines to stand up for victims!

Rep. John Conyers (D-MI)

Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA)

Rep. JerryNadler (D-NY)

Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA)

Rep. Mel Watt (D-NC)

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX)

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA)

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN)

Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA)

Rep. Pedro Pierluisi (D-PR)

Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL)

Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL)

Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA)

Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO)

 

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  • We’ve had more than 32,00,000 visits to our website!  Continue to check out our website for fact sheets, press coverage, support letters, and updates.
  • We have more than 1,200 “likes” on Facebook!  Check out and “like” our Facebook page where you can find a toolkit and other action and information items: 
  • Don’t forget to tweet about VAWA using the hashtags #ReauthorizeVAWA, #RealVAWA and #VAWA.
  • If you aren't on one of the VAWA email lists or want to add members of your staff or state/community leaders to our grassroots alerts e-mailing list, send names and contact information including email to Sean Black, sblack@icasa.org.

National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women: Statement on the House Judiciary Committee’s Passage of the Adams Bill

Today, the House Judiciary Committee marked up and passed the Adams (R-FL) version of VAWA, H.R. 4970.  The National Task Force and our thousands of community activists all across the nation have worked very hard in the last few weeks to defeat this harmful bill that sets back the clock on VAWA, hurts and excludes survivors of violence and in some cases gives more rights to perpetrators than victims.  In a near party-line 17-15 vote, one Member, Representative Ted Poe (R-TX), Co-Chair of the Victims' Rights Caucus, stood firmly with the field and Democratic colleagues and voted against the bill. The National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women, a coalition representing thousands of organizations, service providers, researchers, educators, religious leaders, law enforcement, advocacy groups and victims all across the nation, continues to have grave concerns about this legislation that contains punitive provisions that will harm victims and exclude key communities.

In today’s committee markup, a substitute amendment offered by Ranking Member John Conyers (D-MI) that closely mirrors the bipartisan Senate-passed bill was not even allowed to be considered or debated. Numerous amendments were offered by our House champions to improve the Adams bill by including vulnerable communities such as Native women, LGBTQ victims, and immigrant victims, and striking mandatory minimum sentencing, but these amendments were consistently defeated by the House committee majority. Despite these disappointing results, the National Task Force will now turn our efforts to the full House of Representatives in order to pass an inclusive VAWA that is a real step forward for all victims of violence.  That vote could be as early as next week so champions of the “real VAWA” have their work cut out for them.

THE HOUSE BILL IS NOT THE REAL VAWA

IT HARMS VICTIMS, INCREASES COSTS, CREATES INEFFICIENCY AND PROTECTS ABUSERS, NOT VICTIMS

The House bill is being marked up TODAY and it is NOT the real VAWA.  Over the past 17 years, VAWA has created highly successful programs and laws that have changed the landscape for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. Every five years, public safety and justice professionals and experts from the field have the opportunity to recommend updates, adaptations and refinements to the Act to improve victim services and offender accountability. This time is no different.

VAWA provisions were carefully crafted with new provisions and refinements based on discussions with more than 2,000 advocates and experts across the country. Their message was clear: “We can’t afford to turn anyone away. Please give us the resources and tools to make sure that we can serve any victim who comes to our doors.” The National Task Force brought the results of these interviews to Congressional offices two years ago, to help inform the drafting work of the Members, and the House bill ignores all of the advocate input. The House bill was drafted without input or consultation from the thousands of professionals engaged in this work every day.

The bill includes damaging and unworkable provisions that will harm victims, increase costs, and create unnecessary inefficiencies. WORSE, THE HOUSE BILL PROTECTS ABUSERS AT THE EXPENSE OF VICTIM SAFETY.  THE HOUSE BILL LACKS THE PROTECTIONS OF THE RECENTLY PASSED, SOLIDLY BIPARTISAN SENATE BILL, WHICH PUTS VICTIM SAFETY FIRST.

We must tell our legislators that we strongly oppose the Adams bill.  The Adams bill is DANGEROUS for victims because:

  • It includes harsh mandatory minimum sentences on a number of crimes that would have a chilling effect on victim reporting and would not help to hold perpetrators accountable.
  • It includes unacceptable “gender-neutral” language that ignores, rather than addresses, issues of LGBT victims.
  • It includes audit requirements that are excessive, burdensome and costly AND DIVERT PRECIOUS GRANT DOLLARS FROM DIRECT SERVICES TO BUREAUCRACY.
  • It limits the U visa program, barring the use of unused visas, AND WILL PUNISH victims WHO WORK WITH law enforcement to bring perpetrators to justice.
  • It erodes important provisions for immigrant victims’ safety and GIVES ABUSERS ADDITIONAL TOOLS WITH WHICH TO HARM VICTIMS.
  • It undermines ability of tribal courts to hold violent offenders accountable.
  • It burdens tribal victims by forcing them to seek protective orders in federal court.
  • And it is NOT the REAL VAWA

 

Instead, we want to see a bipartisan bill that includes ALL victims.  See more detail on the dangerous provisions below the ACTION.

PLEASE KEEP CALLING AND EMAILING YOUR REPRESENTATIVE & TELL HIM/HER:  

 “We oppose the Adams proposal because it is NOT the REAL VAWA and doesn’t include protections for all victims and it rolls back protections for victims of violence. It is DANGEROUS for survivors of violence.   We support a bill like the bi-partisan Senate bill that protects Native victims, immigrant victims, LGBT victims and other marginalized communities.  You must support us in passing the REAL VAWA.”

 

Tell your friends, family and loved ones to call and email too!  When you email, tell them: 

I strongly oppose the Adams bill because it rolls back VAWA protections, it abandons Native women, immigrant and LGBT victims and it is NOT the REAL VAWA.  I know what violence looks like because my (sister/brother/friend) in my county (or district) was abused (give details).  I don’t want this to happen again.  In honor of _______________, I’m asking you to vote against the Adams bill.

 

WE NEED TO FLOOD REPRESENTATIVES’ OFFICES WITH CALLS AND EMAILS!

 

MEET WITH YOUR REPRESENTATIVE AND TELL THEM  ABOUT WHY VAWA MATTERS TO YOU:  

We need all Representatives to understand that this issue impacts their district and their constituents.  Have a meeting with a staffer in your Representative’s office and tell them why VAWA is important and why they should oppose Cantor-Adams – it is DANGEROUS for victims, it rolls back VAWA protections, it abandons Native women, immigrant and LGBT victims and it is NOT the REAL VAWA.   Instead, we need a bipartisan bill that includes ALL victims.

Use tips from our TOOLKIT to:  work with your community, have legislative visits and reach out to policymakers.  


FACTS TO USE IN YOUR ADVOCACY: 

 

The Adams bill is DANGEROUS for victims because:

Harsh mandatory minimum sentences on a number of crimes would have a chilling effect on victim reporting and would not help to hold perpetrators accountable.

  • Long mandatory minimum sentences can keep victims who were assaulted by someone they know from reporting the crime.
  • Mandatory minimums for sex offenders are likely to result in pleas to non-sex offense crimes. The individuals will then not be identified as sex offenders for purposes of registration, treatment, etc.
  • The American Bar Association, the Judicial Conference of the United States and every major organization focusing on criminal justice opposes mandatory minimum sentences.
  • A 2008 poll found that fully 78 percent of Americans agree that courts, not Congress, should determine an individual’s sentence.
  • Expanded use of prison sentences for drug crimes and longer sentences required by mandatory minimums have caused a dramatic increase in state and federal corrections costs. State corrections spending jumped from $6 billion in 1982 to over $50 billion in 2008.
  • None of these proposals were vetted, much less approved by the field of advocates whose proposal forms the basis of S. 1925, the Leahy-Crapo VAWA reauthorization bill. These proposals are solutions in search of problems, and will only serve to exacerbate the already existing problem of prison overcrowding. [sls1]  

Unacceptable “Gender-neutral” language ignores, rather than addresses, issues of LGBT victims.

The inclusion of “women” recognizes the disproportionate impact that these crimes have on women. Gender-neutral language does not recognize the reality of these crimes, nor does it adequately address the need to broader services for LGBT survivors.

  •  A 2011 survey found that nearly 85% of service providers worked with LGBT clients who reported that they were turned away or denied services because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
  • LGBTQ people are underserved because of their sexual orientation and gender identity, not just their gender, and should be included in this Act explicitly and not through a “gender neutral” approach that does not remove to the barriers created by homophobia.
  • Gay men are not denied shelter because they are men – there are already provisions in VAWA that prevent that discrimination – but because they are gay. Lesbians are not turned away from shelter or services because they are women, but because they are lesbians. Transgender people are not turned away because of their sex assigned at birth but because of their gender presentation and expression that service providers do not understand and therefore cannot address.  

Audit requirements are excessive, burdensome and costly AND DIVERT PRECIOUS GRANT DOLLARS FROM DIRECT SERVICES TO BUREAUCRACY.

  • Since its enactment, VAWA has included important reporting and oversight provisions both for grantees and for the Department of Justice (“DoJ”).
  • In separate letters addressed to Congressman Poe and Senator Leahy, DoJ has reported that “VAWA grants are being used effectively for their intended purpose,” that “grant management and grantee recordkeeping are generally sound,” and that when auditing problems arise, they are “not about waste, fraud or abuse, but rather about inadequate accounting and insufficient documentation” and are quickly resolved.
  • The resources required to implement this substantial new audit requirement would be better spent on technical assistance and financial training for the hundreds of small police departments, courts, and non-profits who are OVW grantees.

Limits the U visa program, barring the use of unused visas, AND WILL PUNISH victims WHO WORK with law enforcement to bring perpetrators to justice.

  • Victims of crime should be able to work with law enforcement to bring perpetrators to justice. Limiting the U-visa certification process will discourage victims from coming forward and cooperating with law enforcement. Yet law enforcement tells us that failing to report crimes like these only exacerbates their negative impact on the community. Considering that many who commit U-visa crimes are serial perpetrators, law enforcement wants victims to come forward regardless of the statute of limitations.
  • Restrictive certification requirements discourage cooperation with law enforcement. The effect of a 120 day limit gives perpetrators tools to evade prosecution. Domestic violence research shows that victims often suffer multiple incidents of abuse before they find the courage to come forward. This is true for citizen victims as well as immigrant victims. Research on reporting also shows that this would hurt sexual assault victims the most.

Erodes important provisions for immigrant victims’ safety and GIVES ABUSERS ADDITIONAL TOOLS WITH WHICH TO HARM VICTIMS.

  • Creates undue barriers for vulnerable victims. The amendment’s provisions requiring that an application be denied if an alleged abuser is found “not guilty” fails to recognize that not all battery or extreme cruelty is covered under state criminal laws, nor does it recognize that there are many reasons why prosecution is not undertaken or successful, including when a perpetrator flees. This is true for cases brought by citizen victims, as well.
  • Endangers victims and perpetuates further abuse. Amendments allowing the alleged abuser access to the self-petition process creates a chilling effect on victims’ help-seeking. Abusers who could have adjusted the status of their spouse and chose not to as a tool of abuse and fear will be in a position to block the victim’s access to this critical remedy for battered immigrants. Informing and allowing alleged abusers to provide input in these cases puts victims at risk of retaliation. Abusers frequently deny the abuse and falsely accuse victims of fraud or abuse. It increases motives for abusers to contact ICE to try to stop their spouse from getting legal status.
  • Shifting the self-petition process to local offices is duplicative and expensive. Adding an additional interview requirement is unnecessary, would be very costly and would require extensive training on domestic violence and sexual assault at USCIS offices across the country. Currently, the specialized USCIS center that adjudicates these applications is trained to weigh the evidence and ferret out fraud and can request additional evidence if necessary. Additionally, self-petition applicants have to attend an interview at their local offices to adjust their status to lawful permanent residence. The double interview requirement places an extra hurdle for victims of abuse not required for other applicants for status.
  • Adding an interview process to VAWA cancellation of removal hearings to local offices is duplicative and expensive. In VAWA cancellation of removal cases, the petitioner appears at hearings with an immigration judge, so a separate interview places an unnecessary burden. Adding an interview process to VAWA cancellation hearings will slow immigration court cases down immensely, bogging down the court calendar further.

Undermines ability of tribal courts to hold violent offenders accountable.

  • Indian women face rates of victimization many times higher than those faced by non-Indian women, due to a current gap in law enforcement and court jurisdiction over crimes of domestic and sexual violence occurring on tribal land.
  • State courts and state law enforcement have said very clearly that they cannot take on the responsibility of addressing this horrific level of victimization. The federal government also lacks the resources to address this problem alone, as evidenced by the incredibly low federal prosecution rates in Indian Country.
  • The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and the Conference of Chief Justices have adopted policies recognizing the sovereign jurisdiction of tribal courts, and are committed to ensuring that tribes receive capacity-building support, where appropriate, to protect the women who are victimized on their lands, and to hold offenders accountable.

Burdens tribal victims by forcing them to seek protective orders in federal court.

  • The substitute would require tribes to seek validation of their civil protection orders in federal district courts—often hundreds of miles from the reservation—even though the current full faith and credit provisions of VAWA (specifically 18 USC 2265(e)) already give tribes civil authority to issue and enforce these types of orders without interference from federal authorities.
  • Moreover, this provision appears to make it a federal crime to violate tribal protection orders. Federal prosecutors—those with the primary enforcement responsibility for crimes in Indian country—already decline to prosecute half of Indian Country crimes that are referred to them. By adding violations of tribal protection orders to the list of crimes that federal authorities can prosecute—but frequently fail to do so—the substitute offers a distraction that may ultimately exacerbate the problem, instead of proposing a real solution that will protect Native victims.

 

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  • We’ve had more than 37,000 visits to our website!  Continue to check our website for fact sheets, press coverage, support letters and updates.
  • We have more than 1,200 “likes” on Facebook!  Check out and “like” our Facebook page where you can find a toolkit and other action and information items: 
  • Don’t forget to tweet about VAWA using the hashtags #ReauthorizeVAWA, #RealVAWA and #VAWA.
  • If you aren't on one of the VAWA email lists or want to add members of your staff or state/community leaders to our grassroots alerts e-mailing list, send names and contact information including email to Sean Black, sblack@icasa.org.

IT’S WORKING!!! WE NEED TO KEEP THE PRESSURE ON!

Your calls and emails telling the House of Representatives that Rep. Sandy Adam’s bill is DANGEROUS to victims are being heard! 

Your advocacy is working!  Just last week the Washington Post did a story on how Representative Sandy Adam’s bill is anti-victim and dangerous.   This story – and others - point to the urgent need for VAWA for all victims and why many advocates think that the Adams bill is wrong because it ignores victims who are not considered the “right” victims – such as sexual assault victims or immigrants – by the GOP.

NTF believes that the Adams bill is dangerous because it decides which victims are worthy of help -- and makes it clear which ones don't "deserve" help.  These provisions are dangerous and roll back the successes of VAWA's first 18 years.  This bill is being scheduled for mark up in the House Judiciary committee TODAY, Tuesday, May 8th.   We have to keep the pressure on and FLOOD the House with emails and calls OPPOSING the bill. 

We must tell our legislators that we strongly oppose the Adams bill.  The Adams bill is DANGEROUS for victims because

  • it claims to support “true victims” but instead further endangers victims by taking away victims' protections - like access to shelter and access to justice
  • it rolls back VAWA protections
  • it abandons Native women, immigrant and LGBT victims 
    •  Women could die from provisions stripping confidentiality for immigrant victims petitioning to keep themselves and their children safe – and we can’t support a bill that would tell an abusive partner where the victim is and what the victim is doing
    • The bill allows batterers on Tribal lands to go free -  and we can’t support a bill that protects batterers on Tribal lands but won't protect victimsThe bill leaves LGBT victims isolated and alone because this bill says LGBT victims are not the “right” victims worthy of help
  • it assumes that small non-profits struggling to shelter and support victims are committing fraud at high rates while nothing supports this claim. Advocates will have to re-direct their attention from victims to paperwork.  The bill wants to grow bureaucracy at the expense of victims' services.  We 
  • it is NOT the REAL VAWA

Instead, we want to see a bipartisan bill that includes ALL victims. 

ACTION!!  PLEASE KEEP CALLING AND EMAILING YOUR REPRESENTATIVE & TELL THEM:  

 We oppose the Adams proposal because it is NOT the REAL VAWA and doesn’t include protections for all victims and it rolls back protections for victims of violence. It is DANGEROUS for survivors of violence.   We support a bill like the bi-partisan Senate bill that protects Native victims, immigrant victims, LGBT victims and other marginalized communities.  You must support us in passing the REAL VAWA.”

Tell your friends, family and loved ones to call and email too!  When you email, tell them: 

I strongly oppose the Adams bill because it rolls back VAWA protections, it abandons Native women, immigrant and LGBT victims and it is NOT the REAL VAWA.  I know what violence looks like because my (sister/brother/friend) in my county (or district) was abused (give details).  I don’t want this to happen again.  In honor of _______________, I’m asking you to vote against the Adams bill.

WE NEED TO FLOOD THE REPRESENTATIVE OFFICES WITH CALLS AND EMAILS!

 

ACTION!!  MEET WITH YOUR REPRESENTATIVES AND TELL THEM ABOUT WHY VAWA MATTERS TO YOU.

We need every representative to understand that this issue impacts their district and their constituents.  Have a meeting with a staffer in your representative’s office and tell them why VAWA is important and why they should oppose Cantor-Adams – it is DANGEROUS for victims, it rolls back VAWA protections, it abandons Native women, immigrant and LGBT victims and it is NOT the REAL VAWA.   Instead, we need a bipartisan bill that includes ALL victims.

Use tips from our TOOLKIT to:  work with your community, have legislative visits and reach out to policy makers. 

###

  • We’ve had more than 37,000 visits to our website!  Continue to check our website for fact sheets, press coverage, support letters, and updates.
  • We have more than 1,200 “likes” on Facebook!  Check out and “like” our Facebook page where you can find a toolkit and other action and information items: h
  • Don’t forget to tweet about VAWA using the hashtags #ReauthorizeVAWA, #RealVAWA and #VAWA.
  • If you aren't on one of the VAWA email lists or want to add members of your staff or state/community leaders to our grassroots alerts e-mailing list, send names and contact information including email to Sean Black, sblack@icasa.org.

 

 

 


 


 

THIS IS THE MOMENT – IF YOU WANT REAL VAWA LEGISLATION TO PASS, YOU MUST ACT!

NTF strongly opposes the Cantor-Adams version of the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization that was introduced in the House.  This bill is being scheduled for mark up in the House Judiciary committee next Tuesday, May 8th. We must take action NOW to let the members of this committee – and all members of Congress - know that this bill is NOT the real VAWA – it is not the VAWA that passed the Senate 68-31 and it is not the one that protects all victims.

We know we’ve asked you to take a lot of actions in the past few months, and we are deeply grateful for your work.  We are in the home stretch and need your help to mobilize ALL people who care about ending domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking.  Please take a moment to do the following and PASS THIS ALONG TO YOUR FRIENDS AND LOVED ONES.

We must tell our legislators that we strongly oppose the Cantor-Adams bill.  The Cantor-Adams bill is DANGEROUS for victims because:

  • it claims to support “true victims” but instead further endangers victims by taking away victims' protections-like access to shelter and access to justice
  • it rolls back VAWA protections
  • it abandons Native women, immigrant and LGBT victims
  1. Women could die from provisions stripping confidentiality for immigrant victims petitioning to keep themselves and their children safe – and we can’t support a bill that would tell an abusive partner where the victim is and what the victim is doing
  2. The bill allows batterers on Tribal lands to go free -  and we can’t support a bill that protects batterers on Tribal lands but won't protect victims
  3. The bill leaves LGBT victims isolated and alone because this bill thinks LGBT victims are not the “right” victims worthy of help
  • it assumes that small non-profits struggling to shelter and support victims are committing fraud at high rates while nothing supports this claim. Advocates will have to re-direct their attention from victims to paperwork.  The bill wants to grow bureaucracy at the expense of victims' services.  We want to grow services, not bureaucracy
  • it is NOT the REAL VAWA

We want to see a bipartisan bill that includes ALL victims

Action 1:  Call and email your representative and tell them you OPPOSE the Cantor-Adams bill and want them to pass a REAL VAWA bill in the House

Action 2:   Meet with your representatives in your district and tell them why they need to oppose Cantor-Adams and work on a bipartisan bill that includes ALL victims.

Action 3:  Thank the senators who supported S. 1925 and tell the ones who didn’t that you’re disappointed

 

ACTION 1:  Call AND email your representative and tell them:  

 “We oppose the Cantor-Adams proposal because it is NOT the REAL VAWA and doesn’t include protections for all victims and it rolls back protections for victims of violence. It is DANGEROUS for survivors of violence.   We support a bill like the bi-partisan Senate bill that protects Native victims, immigrant victims, LGBTQ victims and other marginalized communities.”  You must support us in passing the REAL VAWA.

 

Email your Representative with the following message: 

I strongly oppose the Cantor-Adams bill because it rolls back VAWA protections, it abandons Native women, immigrant and LGBT victims and it is NOT the REAL VAWA.  I know what violence looks like because my (sister/brother/friend) in my county (or district) was abused (give details).  I don’t want this to happen again.  In honor of _______________, I’m asking you to vote against the Cantor-Adams bill.

 

WE NEED TO FLOOD THE REPRESENTATIVE OFFICES WITH CALLS AND EMAILS!

 

ACTION 2: Meet with your representatives and tell them about why VAWA matters to you  

We need every representative to understand that this issue impacts their district and their constituents.  Have a meeting with a staffer in your representative’s office and tell them why VAWA is important and why they should oppose Cantor-Adams – it is DANGEROUS for victims, it rolls back VAWA protections, it abandons Native women, immigrant and LGBT victims and it is NOT the REAL VAWA.   Instead, we need a bipartisan bill that includes ALL victims

Use tips from our TOOLKIT to:  work with your community, have legislative visits and reach out to policy makers. 

 

ACTION 3:  Thank the senators who supported S. 1925 and tell those who didn’t how disappointed you are.After it leaves the House, VAWA will be conferenced between the House and the Senate.  We need to tell Senators who supported S. 1925 that we appreciate their support.  And we need to tell those who didn’t that we are disappointed in them and feel that they’ve failed us on VAWA.

Here are ways you can reach out to your Senators:

Send a letter to the editor that thanks your senator who supported S. 1925:  Submit this letter to the editor to thank your Senators for their support with VAWA. 

 (Name of organization or organizations – and list size of membership or number of victims served) is proud that Senator (insert Senator name here) voted for the bipartisan reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), S. 1925, which passed the Senate on a 68-31 vote last week.  This modest bill will sustain lifesaving laws and initiatives that are at the heart of our nation’s response to domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and dating violence.  Law enforcement and prosecutors rely on this legislation to combat these heinous crimes – to protect victims and hold perpetrators accountable.  Victims desperately need the core services authorized by VAWA to keep them safe and help them heal.  S. 1925 builds on VAWA’s successes and includes new provisions that ensure that the most vulnerable victims are protected. VAWA supports (include examples of critical programs/services/intervention efforts from your state here).  Now, as more and more victims are coming forward for help, just as there are fewer resources and waiting lists for services, it is absolutely essential that our national leaders support this vital legislation.  Victims and their advocates in X state can feel proud that Senator X took a stand for them and voted for victims!

Send a letter to the editor to express your disappointment with those who voted AGAINST VAWA:   Submit this letter to the editor to tell the Senators who voted against VAWA that you are disappointed:

Letter to the editor for senators who voted no:

(Name of organization or organizations – and list size of membership or number of victims served) is deeply disappointed that Senator (insert Senator name here) voted against the bipartisan reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), S. 1925, which passed the Senate on a 68-31 vote last week.  This modest bill would sustain lifesaving laws and initiatives that are at the heart of our nation’s response to domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and dating violence.  Law enforcement and prosecutors rely on this legislation to combat these heinous crimes – to protect victims and hold perpetrators accountable.  Victims desperately need the core services authorized by VAWA to keep them safe and help them heal.  S. 1925 builds on VAWA’s successes and includes new provisions that ensure that the most vulnerable victims are protected. VAWA supports (include examples of critical programs/services/intervention efforts from your state here).  Now, as more and more victims are coming forward for help, just as there are fewer resources and waiting lists for services, it is absolutely essential that our national leaders support this vital legislation.   (Final sentence indicating your Senator chose to vote against this vital, modest, and bipartisan legislation or has historically been a strong supporter but this most recent vote was a vote against victims.)

Tweet your thanks!  Use hashtags:  #VAWA, #ReauthorizeVAWA #RealVAWA

 

Tweet your disappointment:  Use hashtags:  #VAWA, #ReauthorizeVAWA #RealVAWA

Alabama:@SenatorSessions @SenShelbyPress Your votes against S1925, the real VAWA, are deeply disappointing to the ppl of Alabama! #vawa

Arizona:@SenJonKyl the people of Arizona were counting on you to vote yes on S 1925, the real Violence Against Women Act. Deeply disappointed! #vawa

Arkansas:@JohnBoozman The ppl of Arkansas needed ur support 4 victims of violence but u voted against S1925, the real VAWA & we r disappointed! #vawa

Florida:@marcorubio Victims of violence in Florida needed ur support but you voted against S 1925 the real VAWA & we are deeply disappointed! #vawa

Georgia:@SaxbyChambliss @SenatorIsakson Victims of violence in Georgia needed u but u voted against S1925, the real VAWA & we r disappointed! #vawa

Idaho:@Senator Risch: Victims of violence in Idaho needed u but you voted against S 1925, the real VAWA & we r disappointed! #vawa

Indiana:@senatorlugar Victims of violence in Indiana needed u but u voted against the Violence Against Women Act & we are disappointed! #vawa

Iowa:@ChuckGrassley Victims of violence in Iowa needed ur support but you voted against S 1925, the real VAWA & we are very disappointed! #vawa

Kansas:@JerryMoran @SenPatRoberts Ur votes against S1925, the Violence Against Women Act, are deeply disappointing to the ppl of Kansas! #vawa

Kentucky:@McConnellPress @SenRandPaul Ur votes against S1925, the Violence Against Women Act, are deeply disappointing to the ppl of Kentucky! #vawa

Mississippi:@SenThadCochran @SenatorWicker @SenThadCochran @SenatorWicker Ur votes against S1925, the real VAWA, are deeply disappointing to the ppl of Mississippi! #vawa

Missouri:@RoyBlunt Victims of violence in Missouri needed you but you voted against S 1925, the real VAWA & we are deeply disappointed! #vawa

Nebraska:@Mike_Johanns Victims of violence in Nebraska needed  you but you voted against S 1925, the real VAWA & we are deeply disappointed! #vawa

North Carolina:@SenatorBurr Victims of violence in North Carolina needed you but you voted against VAWA & we are deeply disappointed! #vawa

Oklahoma:@TomCoburn @jiminhofe The people of Oklahoma are deeply disappointed in your vote against S 1925, the Violence Against Womn Act! #vawa

Pennsylvania:@SenToomey the people of Pennsylvania are disappointed in your vote against S.1925, the real VAWA, a bill that helps all victims! #vawa

South Carolina:@JimDeMint @LindseyGrahamSC The peopel of South Carolina are deeply disappointed in your votes against S. 1925, the real VAWA! #vawa

South Dakota:@SenJohnThune The people of South Dakota are deeply disappointed in your vote against S. 1925, the Violence Against Women Act! #vawa

Texas:@JohnCornyn Texans are deeply disappointed in your vote against S.1925, the real VAWA, a bill that helps all victims of violence! #vawa

Utah:@SenOrrinHatch @SenMikeLee the people of Utah are deeply disappointed in your vote against the Violence Against Women Act, S.1925! #vawa

Wisconsin:@SenRonJohnson The ppl of Wisconsin are disappointed in ur vote against S. 1925, the real VAWA, a bill that helps victims of violence! #vawa

Wyoming:@SenJohnBarrasso & Senator Enzi, The people of Wyoming we are deeply disappointed in your votes against S. 1925, the real VAWA! #vawa

 

AND:  Please post this poster on your FB page and tweet it – it shows the 31 senators who voted against VAWA, who are:

Alabama: 

Sessions (R-AL), Nay

Shelby (R-AL), Nay

Arizona:

Kyl (R-AZ), Nay


Arkansas:

Boozman (R-AR), Nay


Florida:

Rubio (R-FL), Nay


Georgia:

Chambliss (R-GA), Nay

Isakson (R-GA), Nay

Idaho:

Risch (R-ID), Nay


Indiana:

Lugar (R-IN), Nay


Iowa:

Grassley (R-IA), Nay


Kansas:

Moran (R-KS), Nay

Roberts (R-KS), Nay

Kentucky:

McConnell (R-KY), Nay

Paul (R-KY), Nay

Mississippi:

Cochran (R-MS), Nay

Wicker (R-MS), Nay

Missouri:

Blunt (R-MO), Nay


Nebraska:

Johanns (R-NE), Nay


North Carolina:

Burr (R-NC), Nay


Oklahoma:

Coburn (R-OK), Nay

Inhofe (R-OK), Nay

Pennsylvania:

Toomey (R-PA), Nay


South Carolina:

DeMint (R-SC), Nay

Graham (R-SC), Nay

South Dakota:

Thune (R-SD), Nay


Texas:

Cornyn (R-TX), Nay


Utah:

Hatch (R-UT), Nay

Lee (R-UT), Nay

Wisconsin:

Johnson (R-WI), Nay


Wyoming:

Barrasso (R-WY), Nay

Enzi (R-WY), Nay

 

Tell them it’s not OK to vote against VAWA – they did not support us and we will remember.

 

Thank you for all of your commitment and support! 

  • We’ve had more than 36,000 visits to our website!  Make sure to keep coming back for updated fact sheets, press coverage, support letters, and weekly action alerts.
  • We have more than 1,200 “likes” on Facebook!  Check out and “like” our Facebook page where you can find a toolkit and other action and information items.
  • Don’t forget to tweet about VAWA using the hashtags #ReauthorizeVAWA, #RealVAWA and #VAWA.
  • If you aren't on one of the VAWA email lists or want to add members of your staff or state/community leaders to our grassroots alerts e-mailing list, send names and contact information including email to Sean Black, sblack@icasa.org.

ACT NOW – the House of Representatives will be considering VAWA next week!

The National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence expresses its strong opposition to the Cantor-Adams version of the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization that was introduced earlier this week.

It weakens or deletes entirely some of the vital improvements in the Senate bill, including the strong provisions that are designed to increase the safety of Native women and the needs of the LGBT community. The bill also contains damaging provisions that create obstacles for immigrant victims seeking to report crimes, increase danger for immigrant victims by eliminating important confidentiality protections, undermine effective anti-fraud protections, and roll back years of progress to protect the safety of immigrant victims. That is not a bill that the National Task Force, comprised of thousands of experts, law enforcement and advocates across the country, can support.

The Senate bill that was passed on April 26, 2012 was the product of significant input from experts in the law enforcement and advocacy fields, and was only introduced after the many interested communities had had a chance to review it, and offer suggestions, and improvements, and raise concerns.  The House has the opportunity to conduct a similarly deliberative process, and we hope that like the Senate, the result will be a strong bi-partisan bill that strengthens protections for all survivors of violence.

We must tell our legislators that we oppose the Cantor-Adams bill and want to see a bipartisan bill that includes ALL victims.  The House of Representatives is in recess this week so it’s a good time to tell reach out to them. 

ACTION:  Call your representative and tell them:  

“We oppose the Cantor/Adams proposal because it doesn’t include protections for all victims.  We support a bill that is closer to HR 4271 with improvements, including those provisions in the bi-partisan Senate bill that protects Tribal victims, immigrant victims, LGBTQ victims and other marginalized communities.”

 

If you have limited time, call those in yellow and grey first!  All phone numbers are in the 202 area code.

 


43 - Republican former sponsors in yellow

Judiciary Committee former sponsors in gray

CODE:  *=1994, ^=2000 Morella, #=2005 Lofgren, !=2005Green

 

PRIMARY LIST of Representatives to contact:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

State

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

District

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(202) Phone

Bachus, Spencer!

AL

6th

225-4921

Bonner, Jo!

AL

1st

225-4931

Faleomavaega, Eni F. H. ^*

AS

Delegate

225-8577

Flake, Jeff*

AZ

6th

225-2635

Grijalva, Raúl M. #

AZ

7th

225-2435

Pastor, Ed#^*

AZ

4th

225-4065

Baca, Joe!^

CA

43d

225-6161

Becerra, Xavier*

CA

31st

225-6235

Berman, Howard L. #^

CA

28th

225-4695

Bilbray, Brian P. ^*

CA

50th

225-0508

Bono Mack, Mary ^

CA

45th

225-5330

Calvert, Ken ^

CA

44th

225-1986

Capps, Lois!#^

CA

23d

225-3601

Costa, Jim!#

CA

20th

225-3341

Davis, Susan A. #

CA

53d

225-2040

Eshoo, Anna G. #^*

CA

14th

225-8104

Farr, Sam#^*

CA

17th

225-2861

Filner, Bob!#^*

CA

51st

225-8045

Gallegly, Elton ^

CA

24th

225-5811

Honda, Michael M. #

CA

15th

225-2631

Lee, Barbara#^

CA

9th

225-2661

Lofgren, Zoe  #^

CA

16th

225-3072

Matsui, Doris O. #

CA

5th

225-7163

Miller, George#^*

CA

7th

225-2095

Napolitano, Grace F. #^

CA

38th

225-5256

Pelosi, Nancy#^*

CA

8th

225-4965

Roybal-Allard, Lucille#^*

CA

34th

225-1766

Royce, Edward R. ^

CA

40th

225-4111

Sánchez, Linda T. #

CA

39th

225-6676

Sanchez, Loretta!#^

CA

47th

225-2965

Schiff, Adam B. !#

CA

29th

225-4176

Sherman, Brad#^

CA

27th

225-5911

Stark, Fortney Pete#^*

CA

13th

225-5065

Thompson, Mike ^

CA

1st

225-3311

Waters, Maxine#^*

CA

35th

225-2201

Waxman, Henry A. #^*

CA

30th

225-3976

Woolsey, Lynn C. #^*

CA

6th

225-5161

DeGette, Diana#^

CO

1st

225-4431

DeLauro, Rosa L. !#^*

CT

3d

225-3661

Larson, John B. !#^

CT

1st

225-2265

Norton, Eleanor Holmes #^*

DC

Delegate

225-8050

Bilirakis, Gus M. ^*

FL

9th

225-5755

Brown, Corrine#^*

FL

3d

225-0123

Deutch, Theodore E. ^*

FL

19th

225-3001

Hastings, Alcee L. ^*

FL

23d

225-1313

Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana!

FL

18th

225-3931

Wasserman Schultz, Debbie#

FL

20th

225-7931

Bishop, Sanford D Jr. #^*

GA

2d

225-3631

Lewis, John#^*

GA

5th

225-3801

Bordallo, Madeleine Z. #

GU

Delegate

225-1188

Boswell, Leonard L. #*

IA

3d

225-3806

Latham, Tom !

IA

4th

225-5476

Simpson, Michael K. ^

ID

2d

225-5531

Biggert, Judy ^

IL

13th

225-3515

Costello, Jerry F. ^*

IL

12th

225-5661

Davis, Danny K. #^

IL

7th

225-5006

Gutierrez, Luis V. !#^*

IL

4th

225-8203

Lipinski, Daniel#^*

IL

3d

225-5701

Schakowsky, Janice D. #^

IL

9th

225-2111

Shimkus, John ^

IL

19th

225-5271

Burton, Dan ^

IN

5th

225-2276

Visclosky, Peter J. *

IN

1st

225-2461

Chandler, Ben!

KY

6th

225-4706

Whitfield, Ed ^

KY

1st

225-3115

Boustany, Charles W., Jr. !

LA

7th

225-2031

Capuano, Michael E. !#^

MA

8th

225-5111

Frank, Barney!#^*

MA

4th

225-5931

Lynch, Stephen F. !

MA

9th

225-8273

Markey, Edward J. !#^*

MA

7th

225-2836

McGovern, James P. #^

MA

3d

225-6101

Neal, Richard E. #^*

MA

2d

225-5601

Olver, John W. #^*

MA

1st

225-5335

Tierney, John F. #^

MA

6th

225-8020

Cummings, Elijah E. !#^

MD

7th

225-4741

Hoyer, Steny H. !^*

MD

5th

225-4131

Ruppersberger, C. A. Dutch!

MD

2d

225-3061

Van Hollen, Chris!#

MD

8th

225-5341

Michaud, Michael H. !

ME

2d

225-6306

Conyers, John, Jr. !#^*

MI

14th

225-5126

Dingell, John D. #

MI

15th

225-4071

Kildee, Dale E. #^*

MI

5th

225-3611

Levin, Sander M. !^*

MI

12th

225-4961

McCotter, Thaddeus G.!

MI

11th

225-8171

Miller, Candice S. !

MI

10th

225-2106

Upton, Fred ^*

MI

6th

225-3761

Kline, John!

MN

2d

225-2271

McCollum, Betty#

MN

4th

225-6631

Peterson, Collin C. #^*

MN

7th

225-2165

Carnahan, Russ!

MO

3d

225-2671

Clay, Wm. Lacy!#

MO

1st

225-2406

Cleaver, Emanuel!#

MO

5th

225-4535

Emerson, Jo Ann!^

MO

8th

225-4404

Thompson, Bennie G.^

MS

2d

225-5876

Butterfield, G. K. #

NC

1st

225-3101

Miller, Brad#

NC

13th

225-3032

Myrick, Sue Wilkins ^

NC

9th

225-1976

Price, David E. #^*

NC

4th

225-1784

Watt, Melvin L. #^

NC

12th

225-1510

Terry, Lee!

NE

2d

225-4155

Bass, Charles F. !^

NH

2d

225-5206

Andrews, Robert E. !#^*

NJ

1st

225-6501

Frelinghuysen, Rodney P. ^

NJ

11th

225-5034

Holt, Rush D. !#^

NJ

12th

225-5801

LoBiondo, Frank A. ^

NJ

2d

225-6572

Pallone, Frank, Jr. #^*

NJ

6th

225-4671

Pascrell, Bill, Jr.^

NJ

8th

225-5751

Rothman, Steven R. !^

NJ

9th

225-5061

Smith, Christopher H.!

NJ

4th

225-3765

Berkley, Shelley!#^

NV

1st

225-5965

Ackerman, Gary L. #^*

NY

5th

225-2601

Crowley, Joseph#^

NY

7th

225-3965

Engel, Eliot L. !^*

NY

17th

225-2464

Higgins, Brian#

NY

27th

225-3306

Hinchey, Maurice D. #^*

NY

22d

225-6335

Israel, Steve#

NY

2d

225-3335

Lowey, Nita M. !#^*

NY

18th

225-6506

Maloney, Carolyn B. !#^*

NY

14th

225-7944

McCarthy, Carolyn!#^

NY

4th

225-5516

Meeks, Gregory W. !#

NY

6th

225-3461

Nadler, Jerrold#^*

NY

8th

225-5635

Rangel, Charles B. #^*

NY

15th

225-4365

Slaughter, Louise McIntosh!#^*

NY

28th

225-3615

Towns, Edolphus^*

NY

10th

225-5936

Velázquez, Nydia M. #*

NY

12th

225-2361

Kaptur, Marcy#^*

OH

9th

225-4146

Kucinich, Dennis J. #^

OH

10th

225-5871

LaTourette, Steven C. !#^

OH

14th

225-5731

Blumenauer, Earl#^

OR

3d

225-4811

DeFazio, Peter A. ^*

OR

4th

225-6416

Brady, Robert A. #*

PA

1st

225-4731

Dent, Charles W. !

PA

15th

225-6411

Doyle, Michael F. ^

PA

14th

225-2135

Gerlach, Jim!

PA

6th

225-4315

Holden, Tim^*

PA

17th

225-5546

Meehan, Patrick #^*

PA

7th

225-2011

Schwartz, Allyson Y. #

PA

13th

225-6111

Langevin, James R. !

RI

2d

225-2735

Clyburn, James E ^.

SC

6th

225-3315

Wilson, Joe!

SC

2d

225-2452

Brady, Kevin*

TX

8th

225-4901

Cuellar, Henry#

TX

28th

225-1640

Doggett, Lloyd #

TX

25th

225-4865

Gonzalez, Charles A. ^

TX

20th

225-3236

Granger, Kay!^

TX

12th

225-5071

Green, Al!

TX

9th

225-7508

Green, Gene#^

TX

29th

225-1688

Hall, Ralph M. *

TX

4th

225-6673

Hinojosa, Rubén#^

TX

15th

225-2531

Jackson Lee, Sheila#^

TX

18th

225-3816

Johnson, Eddie Bernice#^*

TX

30th

225-8885

McCaul, Michael T. !

TX

10th

225-2401

Poe, Ted !

TX

2d

225-6565

Reyes, Silvestre^

TX

16th

225-4831

Sessions, Pete!^

TX

32d

225-2231

Smith, Lamar ^

TX

21st

225-4236

Forbes, J. Randy!

VA

4th

225-6365

Moran, James P. !#^*

VA

8th

225-4376

Scott, Robert C. "Bobby"#*

VA

3d

225-8351

Christensen, Donna M. !#^

VI

Delegate

225-1790

Dicks, Norman D. #*

WA

6th

225-5916

Inslee, Jay!#^*

WA

1st

225-6311

Larsen, Rick !

WA

2d

225-2605

McDermott, Jim!#^*

WA

7th

225-3106

Reichert, David G. !

WA

8th

225-7761

Smith, Adam ^

WA

9th

225-8901

Baldwin, Tammy#^

WI

2d

225-2906

Kind, Ron!^

WI

3d

225-5506

Moore, Gwen#

WI

4th

225-4572

Sensenbrenner, James !

Serrano, José E. #^*

WI

NY

5th

16th

225-5101

225-4361

Capito, Shelley Moore!

WV

2d

225-2711

Rahall, Nick J., II!^*

WV

3d

225-3452

 

 

SECONDARY LIST:

House Democrats no previous vawa sponsorship (70)        * new since 2005 (57)

 

*Sewell, Terri A.

AL

7th

225-2665

Ross, Mike

AR

4th

225-3772

*Bass, Karen

CA

33d

225-7084

*Chu, Judy

CA

32d

225-5464

*Garamendi, John

CA

10th

225-1880

*Hahn, Janice

CA

36th

225-8220

*McNerney, Jerry

CA

11th

225-1947

*Richardson, Laura

CA

37th

225-7924

*Speier, Jackie

CA

12th

225-3531

Cardoza, Dennis A.

CA

18th

225-6131

*Perlmutter, Ed

CO

7th

225-2645

*Polis, Jared

CO

2d

225-2161

*Courtney, Joe

CT

2d

225-2076

*Himes, James A.

CT

4th

225-5541

*Murphy, Christopher S.

CT

5th

225-4476

*Carney, John C., Jr.

DE

At Large

225-4165

*Castor, Kathy

FL

11th

225-3376

*Wilson, Frederica S.

FL

17th

225-4506

*Barrow, John

GA

12th

225-2823

*Johnson, Henry C. "Hank", Jr.

GA

4th

225-1605

*Scott, David

GA

13th

225-2939

*Hanabusa, Colleen W.

HI

1st

225-2726

*Hirono, Mazie K.

HI

2d

225-4906

*Braley, Bruce L.

IA

1st

225-2911

*Loebsack, David

IA

2d

225-6576

*Quigley, Mike

IL

5th

225-4061

*Rush, Bobby L.

IL

1st

225-4372

Jackson, Jesse L., Jr.

IL

2d

225-0773

*Carson, André

IN

7th

225-4011

*Donnelly, Joe

IN

2d

225-3915

*Yarmuth, John A.

KY

3d

225-5401

*Richmond, Cedric L.

LA

2d

225-6636

*Keating, William R.

MA

10th

225-3111

*Tsongas, Niki

MA

5th

225-3411

*Edwards, Donna F.

MD

4th

225-8699

*Sarbanes, John P.

MD

3d

225-4016

*Pingree, Chellie

ME

1st

225-6116

*Clarke, Hansen

MI

13th

225-2261

*Peters, Gary C.

MI

9th

225-5802

*Ellison, Keith

MN

5th

225-4755

*Walz, Timothy J.

MN

1st

225-2472

*Sablan, Gregorio

MP

Delegate

225-2646

*Kissell, Larry

NC

8th

225-3715

McIntyre, Mike

NC

7th

225-2731

Shuler, Heath

NC

11th

225-6401

*Sires, Albio

NJ

13th

225-7919

*Heinrich, Martin

NM

1st

225-6316

*Luján, Ben Ray

NM

3d

225-6190

*Clarke, Yvette D.

NY

11th

225-6231

*Hochul, Kathleen C.

NY

26th

225-5265

*Owens, William L.

NY

23d

225-4611

*Tonko, Paul

NY

21st

225-5076

Bishop, Timothy H.

NY

1st

225-3826

*Fudge, Marcia L.

OH

11th

225-7032

*Sutton, Betty

OH

13th

225-3401

Ryan, Tim

OH

17th

225-5261

Boren, Dan

OK

2d

225-2701

*Bonamici, Suzanne

OR

1st

225-0855

Schrader, Kurt

OR

5th

225-5711

*Altmire, Jason

PA

4th

225-2565

*Critz, Mark S.

PA

12th

225-2065

Fattah, Chaka

PA

2d

225-4001

*Pierluisi, Pedro R.

PR

Resident Commissioner

225-2615

*Cicilline, David N.

RI

1st

225-4911

*Cohen, Steve

TN

9th

225-3265

Cooper, Jim

TN

5th

225-4311

Matheson, Jim

UT

2d

225-3011

*Connolly, Gerald E.

VA

11th

225-1492

*Welch, Peter

VT

At Large

225-4115

 

Keep up the great work!

  • We’ve had more than 35,000 visits to our website!  Keep coming back for new fact sheets, press coverage, support letters and updates.
  • We have more than 1,200 “likes” on Facebook!  Check out and “like” our Facebook page where you can find a toolkit and other action and information items: 
  • Don’t forget to tweet about VAWA using the hashtags #ReauthorizeVAWA and #VAWA.
  • If you aren't on one of the VAWA email lists or want to add members of your staff or state/community leaders to our grassroots alerts e-mailing list, send names and contact information including email to Sean Black, sblack@icasa.org.

  

 

A Statement From The National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence in OPPOSITION to the Cantor-Adams version of VAWA.

The National Task Force Against Sexual and Domestic Violence expresses its strong opposition to the Cantor-Adams version of the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization that was introduced earlier today.  It weakens or deletes entirely some of the vital improvements in the Senate bill, including the strong provisions that are designed to increase the safety of Native women and the needs of the LGBT community.

The bill also contains damaging provisions that create obstacles for immigrant victims seeking to report crimes, increase danger for immigrant victims by eliminating important confidentiality protections, undermine effective anti-fraud protections, and roll back years of progress to protect the safety of immigrant victims. That is not a bill that the Task Force, comprised of thousands of experts, law enforcement and advocates across the country, can support.

The Senate bill that was passed on Thursday was the product of significant input from experts in the law enforcement and advocacy fields, and was only introduced after the many interested communities had had a chance to review it, and offer suggestions, and improvements, and raise concerns.  While there are portions of the House bill that mirror the Senate bill and are supported by the field, we continue to oppose the problematic sections included in it. The House has the opportunity to conduct a similarly deliberative process, and we hope that like the Senate, the result will be a strong bi-partisan bill that strengthens protections for all survivors of violence.

GREAT NEWS: VAWA PASSED THE SENATE

The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, S. 1925, has passed the Senate by a  68 to 31 vote!


And it couldn’t have happened without you!

Check the vote count, and call your Senators that voted yes to tell them how proud you are that they supported the bill written by more than 2,000 professionals serving victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking and supported by more than 1,000 national, state and local programs.  Let them know you are glad that they voted to protect ALL victims of these crimes!

 

Thank you for all your great work!!  

  • www.4vawa.org has over 30,000 visits!  Continue to check our website for fact sheets, press coverage, support letters and updates.
  • Our Facebook page has more than 1,000 “likes”!  Check out and “like” our Facebook page where you can find a toolkit and other action and information items.
  • Don’t forget to tweet about VAWA using the hashtags #ReauthorizeVAWA and #VAWA.
  • If you aren't on one of the VAWA email lists or want to add members of your staff or state/community leaders to our grassroots alerts e-mailing list, send names and contact information including email to Sean Black, sblack@icasa.org.

 

VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ACT CANNOT BE A VICTIM TO POLITICS

A vote for amendments and substitutes that undermine S. 1925 is a vote against VAWA

S. 1925 is a bipartisan bill with 61 co-sponsors, including 8 Republican Senators, which was carefully crafted with new provisions and refinements based on interviews with more than 2,000 law enforcement, court, prosecution, legal services, and victim services professionals from across the country. The message from victims’ advocates was clear: we can’t afford to turn anyone away from protections from domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking.


Over the past 17 years, VAWA has created highly successful programs and laws that have changed the landscape for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. Since VAWA was passed in 1994, Reporting of domestic violence has increased as much as 51% and the number of individuals killed by an intimate partner has decreased by 34% for women and 57% for men. VAWA saved $12.6 billion in its first six years alone. S. 1925 carries on the tradition of these protections for victims of violence. However, there are substitutes and amendments that would gut the very provisions that 2,000 advocates said are critical to VAWA. “Politicians who obstruct passage of VAWA for political reasons will pay a price at the polls in November,” said Terry O’Neill, President, National Organization for Women, “S. 1925 is a bipartisan bill with 61 sponsors, and senators in both parties need to continue making their best efforts to get this bill passed so that lives can be saved and communities across the nation will be safe for girls and women, boys and men. NOW members and supporters in every state stand with all senators who support VAWA without harmful or punitive amendments.”


The substitute to S. 1925 offered by Senators Grassley and Hutchison was drafted without input or consultation from the thousands of professionals engaged in this work every day. The substitute includes damaging and unworkable provisions that will harm victims, increase costs, and create unnecessary inefficiencies. It includes:

  • harsh mandatory minimum sentences on a number of crimes that would have a chilling effect on victim reporting and would not help to hold perpetrators accountable;
  • gender-neutral” language that ignores, rather than addresses, issues of LGBT victims;
  • audit requirements that are excessive, burdensome and costly when VAWA already has important reporting and oversight provisions both for grantees and for the Department of Justice;
  • amendments to the immigration provisions that create obstacles for victims seeking to report crimes, increase danger for immigrant victims by eliminating important confidentiality protections, undermine effective anti-fraud protections, and roll back years of progress to protect immigrant victims;
  • amendments that also undermine the ability of tribal courts to hold violent offenders accountable and burdens tribal victims by forcing them to seek protective orders in federal court.

Advocates believe the Grassley-Hutchison substitute will harm victims of violence. “Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people experience violence at the same rate as any other community but
have far fewer resources and avenues of support,” said Sharon Stapel, Executive Director at the New York City Anti-Violence Project which runs the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, “S. 1925 is critical to protecting vulnerable LGBT people from violence and to creating culturally competent, accessible services for all survivors.” The Department of Justice has reported that “VAWA grant management and grantee recordkeeping are generally sound,” and that when auditing problems arise, they are “not about waste, fraud or abuse, but rather about inadequate accounting and insufficient documentation.”

Nancy K. Kaufman, CEO of the National Council of Jewish Women, says “Since its enactment, VAWA has included important and effective reporting and oversight provisions both for grantees and for the Department of Justice. The substantial resources required to implement this unnecessary new audit requirement would be better spent on technical assistance and financial training for the hundreds of small police departments, courts, and non-profits who are OVW grantees.” "Immigration remedies in VAWA have always received broad bipartisan support. We cannot support amendments that endanger victims by allowing the abusers to use the immigration process as a weapon to continue to abuse their victims," said Grace Huang, Policy Director of the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence. According to Juana Majel Dixon, 1st Vice President of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) and Co-Chair of NCAI’s Task Force on Violence Against Women, “S.1925 is the only real solution to the jurisdictional barriers tribal governments face, and Native victims cannot afford for it to fail.”


Other amendments also fall short of protecting all victims. Senator Cornyn's amendment attempts to address serious issues but lacks input from victim advocates. Similar to the Grassley-Hutchison substitute it includes harsh and harmful mandatory minimum sentences. Long mandatory minimum sentences can keep victims who were assaulted by someone they know from reporting the crime, sex offenders are likely to plead to non-sex offense crimes and courts, not Congress, should determine an individual’s sentence. Supporting this amendment would be harmful to victims.


A bipartisan bill is both necessary to protect victims of violence, and evidence of the Senate having reached a consensus. Bipartisan work is necessary to protect victims of violence. Legal Momentum President, Elizabeth Grayer said, "“We’re thrilled to see the Senate taking up S. 1925. Legal Momentum’s work on, and commitment to, eradicating violence against women started with then-senator Biden nearly two decades ago. We’re grateful that Senators Leahy and Crapo have taken up the mantle and worked together to forge a strong bi-partisan bill. Following Senate passage of the Leahy-Crapo bill, we look forward to working with everyone in the House to pass a strong bi-partisan VAWA that addresses the needs of all survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking.” More than 1,000 state, local and national organizations have signed a letter in support of S.1925.

S.1925 must pass as a bipartisan effort so that victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking can get the support they need.

Media Contact: Sharon Stapel, 347.451.9936, sstapel@avp.org

VAWA could be debated on the Senate Floor as soon as Wednesday!

 Call your Senators today with this message: 

  • “I am/the members of my organization are constituents and we need our Senator(s) to vote for S. 1925.  S. 1925 is the real VAWA and has protections and services for ALL victims.  A vote for any other bill or unfriendly amendment is a vote AGAINST VAWA.”

We agree with the Washington Post: S. 1925 protects victims and must pass.  A vote for any other bill or a vote for any amendment is a vote AGAINST VAWA.

On or after Wednesday, April 25, the Senate will adopt the motion to proceed to S.1925, a bill to reauthorize Violence Against Women Act of 1994.  This means we need to act FAST – contact your Senators TODAY.

TAKE ACTION:

  1. Tell senators to SUPPORT S. 1925 and OPPOSE the Grassley-Hutchison Substitute to S.1925 or any other amendments to S. 1925
  2. Sign onto our letter in support of VAWA

Action 1: Call your senator with this message

  • “S. 1925 is the REAL VAWA.  Vote no on the Grassley/Hutchison language and any other amendments to VAWA.  Support S. 1925.  A vote for any other language or amendment is a vote AGAINST VAWA.  I am your constituent and my views were taken into consideration in the development of S. 1925 – it reflects the needs of victims in your state.”

 

Please share NTF talking points on the Grassley/Hutchison language with your senators.

THE GRASSLEY-HUTCHINSON LANGUAGE HARMS VICTIMS, COSTS MONEY, CREATES NEW BUREAUCRACIES AND INEFFICIENCY THAT WOULD DIVERT PRECIOUS DOLLARS FROM SERVICES 

S. 1925 was carefully crafted with new provisions and refinements based on interviews with more than 2,000 law enforcement, court, prosecution, legal services, and victim services professionals from across the country.  Their message was clear: “We can’t afford to turn anyone away.  Please give us the resources and tools to make sure that we can serve any victim who comes to our doors.” 

The Grassley-Hutchinson language was drafted without input or consultation from the thousands of professionals engaged in this work every day. Their language includes damaging and unworkable provisions that will harm victims, cost money, and create new bureaucracies and unnecessary inefficiencies that would divert precious dollars from services.  A vote for the Grassley-Hutchinson language – or any other amendment is a vote AGAINST the real VAWA and will harm victims of violence.

Action 2: Sign onto our letter in support of VAWA and make sure your friends have too!

If you, your organization or someone you know hasn’t signed our letter in support of VAWA, email your name and organization to reauthorizeVAWA@gmail.com.

Thank you for all your great work!!  

  • www.4vawa.org has nearly 30,000 visitors!  Check our website for fact sheets, press coverage, support letters and updates.
  • Our Facebook page has more than 1,000 “likes”!  Check out and “like” our Facebook page where you can find a toolkit and other action and information items: 
  • Don’t forget to tweet about VAWA using the hashtags #ReauthorizeVAWA and #VAWA.
  • If you aren't on one of the VAWA email lists or want to add members of your staff or state/community leaders to our grassroots alerts e-mailing list, send names and contact information including email to Sean Black, sblack@icasa.org.

THE GRASSLEY-HUTCHISON SUBSTITUE HARMS VICTIMS

THE GRASSLEY-HUTCHISON SUBSTITUE HARMS VICTIMS, INCREASES COSTS, and CREATES INEFFICIENCY.Over the past 17 years, VAWA has created highly successful programs and laws that have changed the landscape for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. Every five years, public safety and justice professionals and experts from the field have the opportunity to recommend updates, adaptations and refinements to the Act to improve victim services and offender accountability.

This time is no different. S.1925 was carefully crafted with new provisions and refinements based on discussions with more than 2,000 advocates and experts across the country. Their message was clear: “We can’t afford to turn anyone away. Please give us the resources and tools to make sure that we can serve any victim who comes to our doors.” The National Task Force brought the results of these interviews to Congressional offices 2 years ago, to help inform the drafting work of the Members, and S. 1925 is the result. The Grassley-Hutchison substitute was drafted without input or consultation from the thousands of professionals engaged in this work every day. The substitute includes damaging and unworkable provisions that will harm victims, increase costs, and create unnecessary inefficiencies. 

 

Harsh mandatory minimum sentences on a number of crimes would have a chilling effect on victim reporting and would not help to hold perpetrators accountable. 

  • Long mandatory minimum sentences can keep victims who were assaulted by someone they know from reporting the crime. 
  • Mandatory minimums for sex offenders are likely to result in pleas to non-sex offense crimes.The individuals will then not be identified as sex offenders for purposes of registration, treatment, etc. 
  • The American Bar Association, the Judicial Conference of the United States and every major organization focusing on criminal justice opposes mandatory minimum sentences. 
  • A 2008 poll found that fully 78 percent of Americans agree that courts, not Congress, should determine an individual’s sentence. 
  • Expanded use of prison sentences for drug crimes and longer sentences required by mandatory minimums have caused a dramatic increase in state and federal corrections costs. State corrections spending jumped from $6 billion in 1982 to over $50 billion in 2008. 

None of these proposals were vetted, much less approved by the field of advocates whose proposal forms the basis of S. 1925, the Leahy-Crapo VAWA reauthorization bill. These proposals are solutions in search of problems, and will only serve to exacerbate the already existing problem of prison overcrowding. 

Unacceptable “Gender-neutral” language ignores, rather than addresses, issues of LGBT victims. The inclusion of “women” recognizes the disproportionate impact that these crimes have on women. Gender-neutral language does not recognize the reality of these crimes, nor does it adequately address the need to broader services for LGBT survivors. 

  • A 2011 survey found that nearly 85% of service providers worked with LGBT clients who reported that they were turned away or denied services because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity
  • LGBTQ people are underserved because of their sexual orientation and gender identity, not just their gender, and should be included in this Act explicitly and not through a “gender neutral” approach that does not remove to the barriers created by homophobia. 
  • Gay men are not denied shelter because they are men – there are already provisions in VAWA that prevent that discrimination – but because they are gay. Lesbians are not turned away from shelter or services because they are women, but because they are lesbians. Transgender people are not turned away because of their sex assigned at birth but because of their gender presentation and expression that service providers do not understand and therefore cannot address. 

 

Audit requirements are excessive, burdensome and costly. 

  • Since its enactment, VAWA has included important reporting and oversight provisions both for grantees and for the Department of Justice (“DoJ”). S.1925, includes enhanced accountability measurements without excessive government oversight 
  • In separate letters addressed to Congressman Poe and Senator Leahy, DoJ has reported that “VAWA grants are being used effectively for their intended purpose,” that “grant management and grantee recordkeeping are generally sound,” and that when auditing problems arise, they are “not about waste, fraud or abuse, but rather about inadequate accounting and insufficient documentation” and are quickly resolved. 
  • The resources required to implement this substantial new audit requirement would be better spent on technical assistance and financial training for the hundreds of small police departments, courts, and non-profits who are OVW grantees. 

 

Limits the U visa program, barring the use of unused visas, which discourages victims from working with law enforcement to bring perpetrators to justice. 

  • Victims of crime should be able to work with law enforcement to bring perpetrators to justice. Limiting the U-visa certification process will discourage victims from coming forward and cooperating with law enforcement. Yet law enforcement tells us that failing to report crimes like these only exacerbates their negative impact on the community. Considering that many who commit U-visa crimes are serial perpetrators, law enforcement wants victims to come forward regardless of the statute of limitations. 
  • Restrictive certification requirements discourage cooperation with law enforcement . The effect of a 120 day limit gives perpetrators tools to evade prosecution. Domestic violence research shows that victims often suffer multiple incidents of abuse before they find the courage to come forward. This is true for citizen victims as well as immigrant victims. Research on reporting also shows that this would hurt sexual assault victims the most. 

 

Erodes important provisions for victim safety and undermines effective anti-fraud protections. 

  • Creates undue barriers for vulnerable victims. The amendment’s provisions requiring that an application be denied if an alleged abuser is found “not guilty” fails to recognize that not all battery or extreme cruelty is covered under state criminal laws, nor does it recognize that there are many reasons why prosecution is not undertaken or successful, including when a perpetrator flees. This is true for cases brought by citizen victims, as well. 
  • Endangers victims and perpetuates further abuse. Amendments allowing the alleged abuser access to the self-petition process creates a chilling effect on victims’ help-seeking. Abusers who could have adjusted the status of their spouse and chose not to as a tool of abuse and fear will be in a position to block the victim’s access to this critical remedy for battered immigrants. Informing and allowing alleged abusers to provide input in these cases puts victims at risk of retaliation. Abusers frequently deny the abuse and falsely accuse victims of fraud or abuse. It increases motives for abusers to contact ICE to try to stop their spouse from getting legal status. 
  • Shifting the self-petition process to local offices is duplicative and expensive. Adding an additional interview requirement is unnecessary, would be very costly and would require extensive training on domestic violence and sexual assault at USCIS offices across the country. Currently, the specialized USCIS center that adjudicates these applications is trained to weigh the evidence and ferret out fraud and can request additional evidence if necessary. Additionally, self-petition applicants have to attend an interview at their local offices to adjust their status to lawful permanent residence. The double interview requirement places an extra hurdle for victims of abuse not required for other applicants for status. 
  • Adding an interview process to VAWA cancellation of removal hearings to local offices is duplicative and expensive. In VAWA cancellation of removal cases, the petitioner appears at hearings with an immigration judge, so a separate interview places an unnecessary burden. Adding an interview process to VAWA cancellation hearings will slow immigration court cases down immensely, bogging down the court calendar further. 

 

Undermines ability of tribal courts to hold violent offenders accountable. 

  • Indian women face rates of victimization many times higher than those faced by non-Indianwomen, due to a current gap in law enforcement and court jurisdiction over crimes of domestic and sexual violence occurring on tribal land. 
  • State courts and state law enforcement have said very clearly that they cannot take on the responsibility of addressing this horrific level of victimization. The federal government also lacks the resources to address this problem alone, as evidenced by the incredibly low federal prosecution rates in Indian Country
  • The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and the Conference of Chief Justices have adopted policies recognizing the sovereign jurisdiction of tribal courts, and are committed to ensuring that tribes receive capacity-building support, where appropriate, to protect the women who are victimized on their lands, and to hold offenders accountable. 

 

Burdens tribal victims by forcing them to seek protective orders in federal court. 

  • The substitute would require tribes to seek validation of their civil protection orders in federal district courts—often hundreds of miles from the reservation—even though the current full faith and credit provisions of VAWA (specifically 18 USC 2265(e)) already give tribes civil authority to issue and enforce these types of orders without interference from federal authorities. 
  • Moreover, this provision appears to make it a federal crime to violate tribal protection orders. Federal prosecutors—those with the primary enforcement responsibility for crimes in Indian country—already decline to prosecute half of Indian Country crimes that are referred to them. By adding violations of tribal protection orders to the list of crimes that federal authorities can prosecute—but frequently fail to do so—the substitute offers a distraction that may ultimately exacerbate the problem, instead of proposing a real solution that will protect Native victims

More than 1,000 state, local and national organizations have signed a letter in support of S.1925. Click here to read the letter.

VAWA is live in the Senate

Let’s thank our supporters and tell them we appreciate their vote for S. 1925!

S. 1925 has been filed as a “motion to proceed” in the Senate and is likely to be debated on the Senate floor next week.  There will likely be an alternative bill offered as a substitute, and perhaps other harmful amendments, so we want to make sure that S. 1925, the real VAWA, which has key provisions that will protect all victims, is the bill that passes.  Take a moment to thank our supporters and tell them you are proud of their support of S. 1925 and all of the important provisions that provide better access to law enforcement for women in Indian country, better access for immigrant women who fear deportation if they report violence, and better access for LGBT victims who are facing barriers accessing services.

ACTION:  Call the below Senators and tell them “Thank you for sponsoring S. 1925 – the only bill that protects ALL victims of violence.  We appreciate that you will vote to keep all of the critical provisions, including those protections for Tribal women, immigrants and LGBT victims, in the bill.  We are behind you!”  

If you talk to staff, ask for their email so you can send them these three fact sheets:  Tribal, Immigration and LGBT.

Start with our valiant Republican sponsors – they are under pressure from all sides and need to know you consider them stars:

  • Ayotte, Kelly - (R - NH) (202) 224-3324, Judiciary: John Lawrence, Women: Daniel Auger
  • Brown, Scott P. - (R - MA) (202) 224-4543
  • Collins, Susan M. - (R - ME) (202) 224-2523 , Judiciary: Rich Houghton, Women: Kenneth Altman, Lorinda Harris
  • Crapo, Mike - (R - ID) (202) 224-6142
  • Heller, Dean - (R - NV) (202) 224-6244, Judiciary and Women’s Issues LA: Leeann Gibson
  • Kirk, Mark - (R - IL) (202) 224-2854
  • Murkowski, Lisa - (R - AK) (202) 224-6665, Judiciary LA: Nathan Bergerbest, Women's Issues LA: Amanda Makki
  • Snowe, Olympia J. - (R - ME) (202) 224-5344, Women's Issues LA: Amy Pellegrino

 

Next, our Democratic women champions:

 

California

  • Dianne Feinstein D (202) 224-3841 Judiciary LA: Neil Quinter, Women's Issues: Nora Connors, Devin Rhinerson
  • Barbara Boxer D (202) 224-3553  Judiciary LA: Derrick Brent, Women's Issues LA: Cerin Lindgrensavage

Louisiana

  • Mary Landrieu D (202) 224-5824 CoS: Jane Campbell, Leg Dir: Elizabeth Craddock, Judiciary: Angelique Roche

Maryland

  • Barbara Mikulski D (202) 224-4654 Judiciary and women’s issues LA: Teri Curtis

Michigan

  • Debbie Stabenow D (202) 224-4822 Judiciary LA: Jason LaGosh, Women's Issues LA: Alex Sheff

Minnesota

  • Amy Klobuchar D (202) 224-3244 Judiciary LA: Craig Kalkut, Women's Issues LA: Elizabeth Frosch

Missouri

  • Claire McCaskill D (202) 224-6154  Judiciary and women’s issues LA: Derron Parks

New Hampshire

  • Jeanne Shaheen D (202) 224-2841 Judiciary LA: Emily Livingston, Women’s issues: Alison MacDonald

New York

North Carolina

  • Kay Hagan D (202) 224-6342 Judiciary and women’s issues LA: Tracy Zvenyach

Washington

  • Patty Murray D (202) 224-2621
    • Judiciary LA: Jason Park, Women's Issues LA: Paula Burg
  • Maria Cantwell D (202) 224-3441
    • Judiciary and women’s issues LA: Janel George

And finally all the other wonderful sponsors:

 

Thank you for all your great work!!  

  • www.4vawa.org has had over  27,000 visits!  Continue to visit our website for fact sheets, press coverage, support letters and updates.
  • Our Facebook page has more than 1,000 “likes”!  Check out and “like” our Facebook page where you can find a toolkit and other action and information items: 
  • Don’t forget to tweet about VAWA using the hashtags #ReauthorizeVAWA and #VAWA.
  • If you aren't on one of the VAWA email lists or want to add members of your staff or state/community leaders to our grassroots alerts e-mailing list, send names and contact information including email to Sean Black, sblack@icasa.org.

LGBTQ Provisions of S. 1925: Myths v. Facts

VAWA is at the center of a national discussion and will soon move through Congress.  In fact, S. 1925, the real VAWA has been filed as a “motion to proceed” in the Senate and is likely to be heard on the Senate floor within days or weeks.   While every politician has expressed their support for VAWA, some have not committed to support S. 1925, the real VAWA, which has been introduced into the Senate with key provisions that will protect all victims.  Some Senate Republicans will be offering their own version of VAWA when the Senate takes up the bill and it guts the bipartisan S. 1925.  We have to save S. 1925's  important provisions that provide better access to law enforcement for women in Indian country, better access for immigrant women who fear deportation if they report violence, and better access for  LGBT victims who are finding doors to shelters and programs closed to them.

So our job, though it seems complicated, is really simple at the grassroots and community level. Tell your Senators and Representatives: “We won’t go back to the tragic days before VAWA passed in 1994.  We won’t abandon girls and women, boys and men, just because they have special needs and special circumstances that have not been addressed previously.  There are no ‘bad’ victims of sexual assault and domestic violence, only humans who need and deserve our embrace and help.  Pass S. 1925.”

You may have heard concerns raised about the VAWA provisions protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) victims and survivors in your meetings and discussions with senators who haven’t yet signed on in full support of S. 1925 and perhaps in the media. It is crucial that all advocates understand and fully support these critically important provisions in VAWA. For that reason, the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, a member of the National Task Force, has compiled the following responses to misinformation being circulated about the LGBTQ provisions. Please incorporate factual information about the LGBTQ  provisions in your VAWA advocacy and use and distribute these facts to respond to any concerns raised.

The Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization—S.1925

The Truth About LGBTQ Provision

Myth: Domestic violence, sexual violence, stalking and dating violence does not affect the LGBTQ community.

Fact: The LGBTQ community experiences these types of violence as the approximately the same rate as non-LGBTQ victims– 25-33% of relationships -- however, they often face unique barriers to receiving services.

  • LGBT victims are denied services. For example, 45 percent of LGBT victims were turned away when they sought help from a domestic violence shelter, according to a 2010 survey, and nearly 55 percent of those who sought protection orders were denied them.2
  • Service providers lack cultural competency. A 2010 study found that many victim services providers lack services specific to the needs of LGBT victims and have not received training in how to assist with the unique needs of these victims. Specialized services are particularly important for this population because reporting rates and prosecution rates are very low.

Myth: Provisions addressing the LGBTQ community in VAWA are expanding services to a whole new population not previously covered and/or mandating LGBTQ specific programs in every state.

Fact: LGBTQ survivors of domestic violence, sexual violence, stalking and dating violence are already receiving services under VAWA. However, LGBTQ survivors face additional barriers when accessing services. The proposed changes help make clear to STOP state administrators and others the LGBTQ individual and programs can be served and funded under VAWA.

  • These provisions reflect a comprehensive needs assessment. Thousands of service providers, law enforcement, court personnel, victims and family of victims were consulted over a two year nationwide assessment of what is working and where improvements are needed in the response to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. Those efforts consistently revealed the desperate need for more training and targeted services to effectively address the needs of LGBTQ victims.
  • There are no mandated LGBTQ programs. There is nothing in VAWA that mandates that a state fund an LGBTQ specific program. The modest changes to VAWA simply clarify that LGBTQ programs are eligible for funding.

Myth: Including non-discrimination provisions protecting the LGBTQ community will expose service providers to litigation hurting all survivors.

Fact: Enforcement authority for this provision lies with the Department of Justice. If DOJ finds that a service provider receiving federal funding is violating the non-discrimination provision, they must give the provider notice and a chance to stop discriminating. Otherwise the Department is able to stop the funds going to the service provider discriminating against victims.

  • No danger of litigation. There is no private right of action in the VAWA.
  • All victims deserve services. No program being funded by federal VAWA dollars should be allowed to turn away a domestic violence victim because of his or her sexual orientation or gender identity.

Thank you for all your great work!!  

  • Be sure to check our the rest of our website for fact sheets, press coverage, and support letters.
  • Check out and “like” our Facebook page where you can find a toolkit and other action and information items: 
  • Don’t forget to tweet about VAWA using the hashtags #ReauthorizeVAWA and #VAWA.
  • If you aren't on one of the VAWA email lists or want to add members of your staff or state/community leaders to our grassroots alerts e-mailing list, send names and contact information including email to Sean Black, sblack@icasa.org.

Immigration Provisions of S. 1925: Myths v. Facts

We expect the floor discussion of S. 1925 to begin TODAY (4/18) in the Senate. You may have heard concerns raised about the immigration provisions in VAWA in your meetings and discussions with senators who haven’t yet signed on in full support of S. 1925 and perhaps in the media. It is crucial that all advocates understand and fully support these important provisions in VAWA. For that reason, immigration experts of the National Task Force have compiled the following responses to misinformation being circulated about the immigration provisions. Please incorporate factual information about the immigration provisions in your VAWA advocacy and use and distribute these facts to respond to any concerns raised.

 

THE VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ACT REAUTHORIZATION-S.1925

THE TRUTH ABOUT TITLE VIII, PROTECTION OF BATTERED IMMIGRANTS

 

Myth:  Immigrant victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, and other violent crimes do not need special protections under federal law.

Fact:  Immigrant victims need legal protections to prevent  abusers and perpetrators from using immigration status as a tool of abuse, exploitation and control.

Research shows just how often this happens. Nearly 75% of abused immigrant women in one survey reported that their spouses had never filed immigration applications for them, even though they were eligible for legal status. Abusers who eventually filed for their immigrant spouses waited almost 4 years to do so.[i]  VAWA’s immigration provisions address these vulnerabilities by taking away the ability of an abuser to manipulate a victim’s fears about her immigration status. Having legal immigration status is crucial to a victim feeling safe enough to seek help. Victims without legal status can be half as likely as those with stable status to call police.[ii]  Victims of violence should never be forced to choose between living with abuse and facing deportation.

 

Myth:  The Senate VAWA bill (S. 1925) creates a new vehicle for expanding the immigration laws.

Fact:  S. 1925 contains a small number of modest amendments to already existing provisions established through past bipartisan bills, to ensure that these protections actually work as intended.

VAWA  has always included protections for immigrant survivors of domestic violence. “Self-petitioning” for battered immigrant spouses of US citizens and permanent residents was created in VAWA 1994, for example, and the U visa (for victims of violent crimes) and T visa (for human trafficking victims) were created in VAWA 2000. This longstanding inclusion shows that domestic violence is a serious crime and a public safety issue that cannot be fully addressed if all victims are not safe, and all perpetrators are not held accountable. In addition, these provisions are considered an important tool for law enforcement.

 

Myth: The VAWA self-petition and U visa processes are vulnerable to immigration fraud.

Fact:  Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reports to Congress have outlined how the current system used by USCIS is best structured to protect victims while promoting efficiency and deterring fraud. [iii]

In order to be eligible for a U visa, for example, the applicant must demonstrate that she is the victim of a qualifying crime and obtain law enforcement certification that she is helpful in the investigation or prosecution of that crime. All VAWA applications are processed through a centralized, specially trained expert unit.  Scattering that authority among untrained staff at USCIS district offices around the country, as some have proposed, would make fraud-detection inconsistent and difficult as well as put victims at risk of harm. Finally, the number of cases approved annually is small – in FY2011 USCIS approved only 4,285 VAWA self-petitions[iv], and the number of U visas is subject to an annual cap (10,000).

 

Myth: The Senate VAWA bill (S. 1925) opens the floodgates for new visa applicants.

Fact: In 2000, VAWA legislation created the U visa and set an annual cap of 10,000 visas. But USCIS did not issue regulations to clarify the application process and eligibility criteria until September 2007, and continued to place the vast majority of backlogged U visa applications on hold until December 2008.

S. 1925 contains a provision requested by DHS and law enforcement to help address a backlog of U visa applications created due to the government’s delayed implementation of the 2000 VAWA legislation. S. 1925 allows for the annual U visa cap to be raised from 10,000 to 15,000 only so long as there are “unused” visas from the annual U visa allotments for FY2006-2011 to “recapture.” 

 

Thank you for all your great work!!  

  • Be sure to check our the rest of our website for fact sheets, press coverage, and support letters.
  • Check out and “like” our Facebook page where you can find a toolkit and other action and information items: 
  • Don’t forget to tweet about VAWA using the hashtags #ReauthorizeVAWA and #VAWA.
  • If you aren't on one of the VAWA email lists or want to add members of your staff or state/community leaders to our grassroots alerts e-mailing list, send names and contact information including email to Sean Black, sblack@icasa.org.

 

[i] Mary Ann Dutton, Leslye E. Orloff, & Giselle Hass, Characteristics of Help-Seeking Behaviors, Resources and Service Needs of Battered Immigrant Latinas: Legal and Policy Implications, 7 Geo. J. Poverty Law & Pol’y 245, 259 (2000).

[ii] Leslye Orloff, Mary Ann Dutton, Giselle Aguilar Hass, & Nawal Ammar, Battered Immigrant Women’s Willingness to Call for Help and Police Response, 13 UCLA Women’s L. J. 43, 60 (2003).

[iii] See US Citizen and Immigration Services, “Report on the Operations of the Violence Against Women Act Unit at the USCIS Vermont Service Center,” October 22, 2010, at p. 3, available at: www.uscis.gov/USCIS/Resources/Resources%20for%20Congress/Congressional %20 Reports/ vawa-vermont-service-center.pdf. 

[iv] Data obtained from the USCIS Vermont Service Center.

Tribal Provision of S. 1925: Myths v. Facts

We expect the floor discussion of S. 1925 to begin TODAY (4/18) in the Senate. You may have heard concerns raised about the tribal provisions in VAWA in your meetings and discussions with senators who haven’t yet signed on in full support of S.1925 and perhaps in the media. It is crucial that all advocates understand and fully support these critically important provisions in VAWA.

For that reason, the National Congress of American Indians, a member of the National Task Force, has compiled the following responses to misinformation being circulated about the tribal provisions.

Please incorporate factual information about the tribal provisions in your VAWA advocacy and use and distribute these facts to respond to any concerns raised.

The Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization—S.1925

The Truth About Title IX, Safety For Indian women

 

Myth: Native women are not in need of extra protections.

Fact: Existing law denies Native women equal access to justice, which is borne out in statistic after statistic: 34% of American Indian and Alaska Native women will be raped in their lifetimes; 39% will be subjected to domestic violence in their lifetimes; and on some reservations, Native women are murdered at more than ten times the national average

 

Myth: The Federal Government has no legal responsibility to protect Native women.

Fact: VAWA 2005 recognizes that the legal relationship between tribes and the U.S. creates a federal trust responsibility to assist tribes in safeguarding Indian women.  In addition, it is federal laws and court decisions that created the maze of injustice that is a major cause of current epidemic of violence against Native women.   S. 1925 addresses the problem by allowing for greater local control to deal with domestic and dating violence.  

 

Myth: S.1925 strips jurisdiction of federal or state authorities.

Fact: S. 1925 does not in any way alter or remove the current criminal jurisdiction of the United States or of any state.  Rather, S.1925 restores concurrent tribal criminal jurisdiction over a very narrow set of crimes that statistics demonstrate are an egregious problem on Indian reservations.

 

Myth: Tribal jurisdiction exercised under Section 904 would violate Double Jeopardy.

Fact: The U.S. Constitution recognizes Indian tribes as separate governments.  In addition, tribal jurisdiction exercised under Section 904 would be an exercise of inherent tribal authority, not a delegated Federal power, and would thus render the Double Jeopardy Clause inapplicable to sequential prosecutions of the same crime by a tribal government and the Federal Government, just as it would be inapplicable for a similar prosecutions by a state and federal governments.

 

Myth: S.1925 gives tribes criminal jurisdiction over all crimes committed by non-Indians on or off the reservation.

Fact: S.1925 provides a limited jurisdictional fix to address a narrow set of egregious crimes committed in Indian country. Statistics demonstrate that crimes of domestic violence, dating violence, and violations of protection orders are rampant on Indian reservations. Section 904 of the bill recognizes concurrent tribal authority to prosecute these specific crimes committed in Indian country. It does not extend to other crimes or to crimes committed beyond reservation boundaries.

 

Myth: Congress does not have the authority to expand tribal jurisdiction.

Fact: The provisions in S.1925 are well within Congressional authority. Congress’ power to define the contours of tribal jurisdiction is a well-settled matter of U.S. Supreme Court law. The Court in U.S. v. Lara, 541 U.S. 193 (2004), held that the Constitution confers on Congress the power to enact legislation to limit restrictions on the scope of inherent tribal sovereign authority.

 

Myth: Section 904 would permit tribal prosecutions of all non-Indians.

Fact: Section 904 of S.1925 is limited to only crimes of domestic violence or dating violence committed in Indian country where the defendant is a spouse or established intimate partner of a tribal member. It does not permit tribal prosecutions unless the defendant has “sufficient ties to the Indian tribe,” meaning he/she must either reside in the Indian country of the prosecuting tribe, be employed in the Indian country of the prosecuting tribe, or be the spouse or intimate partner of a member of the prosecuting tribe.

 

Myth: S.1925 is unconstitutional because tribal courts are not bound by the U.S. Constitution.

Fact: Under Section 904, tribal courts must provide defendants with the same constitutional rights in tribal court as they would have in state court. Defendants would be entitled to the full panoply of constitutional protections, including due-process rights and an indigent defendant’s right to appointed counsel (at the expense of the tribe) that meets federal constitutional standards. This includes the right to petition a federal court for habeas corpus to challenge any conviction and to stay detention prior to review, and explicit protection of “all other rights whose protection is necessary under the Constitution of the United States.”

 

Myth: The tribal civil jurisdiction provisions in Section 905 grant tribes new authority that they did not previously have.

Fact: The civil jurisdiction found in Section 905 already exists under the full faith & credit clauses of VAWA 2000. S.1925 simply clarifies the intent of this earlier reauthorization by making clear that tribes have full civil authority to issue and enforce protection orders against Indians and non-Indians alike regarding matters arising in Indian country.

 

Myth: The amendments to Title IX have not been the subject of Senate hearings.

Fact: The amendments to Title IX have been the subject of numerous Senate hearings. The key tribal provisions of S.1925 are also contained in Senator Akaka’s S.1763, the Stand Against Violence & Empower Native Women Act. The U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (SCIA), the primary committee of jurisdiction over Indian issues and tribal jurisdiction, held a legislative hearing on S.1763 on November 10, 2011 and has held numerous oversight hearings to examine issues of violence against Native women, including complex jurisdictional issues on tribal lands.

 

 

Thank you for all your great work!!  

  • Be sure to check our the rest of our website for fact sheets, press coverage, and support letters.
  • Check out and “like” our Facebook page where you can find a toolkit and other action and information items: 
  • Don’t forget to tweet about VAWA using the hashtags #ReauthorizeVAWA and #VAWA.
  • If you aren't on one of the VAWA email lists or want to add members of your staff or state/community leaders to our grassroots alerts e-mailing list, send names and contact information including email to Sean Black, sblack@icasa.org.

Happy Spring Recess—hope you’re rested for the next round!

VAWA (S. 1925) now has 61 sponsors – and while Congress is in recess, now is the time to urge Senate Majority Leader Reid to schedule a vote on VAWA by the end of April.

Talk with the senators and representatives in your state to urge them to support S. 1925 in the Senate and similar legislation in the House. 

Tell them that it’s important to get VAWA passed ASAP without harmful or weakening amendments and that alternative versions of VAWA, with severely reduced funding levels, fail victims in critical ways. 

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month so consider tying your meeting to the important provisions S.1925 includes to improve community responses to the crime of sexual assault.

TAKE ACTION:

  1. Urge Senator Reid to schedule VAWA for a vote the week of April 16.
  2. Contact Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) and ask her to support the “real VAWA” (S.1925) and not a substitute that leaves out too many victims.
  3. Visit your senators in their district offices and urge them to sign on to S.1925, or if they are already supporting the bill, thank them for their support and ask them to oppose any partisan attempts to trim or undermine S.1925, the “real VAWA". Ask your representatives to move VAWA forward ASAP in the House.

ACTION 1: S.1925 has enough sponsors to go to the Senate floor for a vote without a filibuster.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has the power to schedule VAWA for a vote.  Ask him to do it ASAP. 

Suggested message: Senator Reid, you have 61 co-sponsors. You can get a vote for cloture now. While you wait, those who oppose VAWA are developing a bill that will undercut everything VAWA stands for. How can you stand back and let those who would limit services in our time of greatest need takeover? Please give us a specific date in April that VAWA will be heard on the Senate floor.

  • If you are not from Nevada, call 202-224-3542 (D.C. office).
  • If you are from Nevada, call 775-686-5750 (Reno office).

ACTION 2: Contact former VAWA sponsor and retiring Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) immediately She authored an Op/Ed in the DesMoines Register saying she would offer an alternate VAWA which weakens a number of provisions critical to victim safety. 

Suggested message:  If Senator Hutchison opposes the real VAWA, S.1925, and offers Senator Grassley’s substitute she will be letting down victims of violence not just in Texas but all over the nation.  Immigrant women, Native women and LGBT victims of domestic and sexual violence have long been under-served and ill-served and S. 1925 simply attempts to address this oversight and help more victims.

  • If you live in Texas:  contact her Dallas office (214) 361-3500.  
  • If you live in or outside Texas, contact her DC office (202) 224-5922.
    • Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX)
    • Chief of Staff: Cliff Shannon
    • Legis. Dir.: Dave Davis
    • Judiciary and Women’s issues LA: Jenifer Healy
    • Native American Affairs LA: David Haines

ACTION 3: Contact your Senators and RepresenativesThey will be home for a few more days. If your Senator  is one of the 39 who is NOT a sponsor of VAWA, find out where they will be during the break and/or call their office today and ask them to co-sponsor S.1925. If they are unable or unwilling to add their name as a co-sponsor, ask them to at least vote for cloture (needs 60 votes) so that the bill can come to the Senate floor for amendments, debate and a final vote for passage. 

Ask your Representative to move VAWA through the House as soon as possible – because VAWA is expired and victims cannot wait.

Suggested message: A lot of misinformation is being circulated by the bills detractors about S. 1925, the real VAWA.  I want to set the record straight:  

  1. Since VAWA first passed, the number of individuals killed by an intimate partner has decreased by 34% for women and 57% for men. VAWA has saved lives while saving money, saving $12.6 billion in its first 6 years alone.
  2. S.1925 saves money by consolidating and repealing more than 15 programs, ensuring more funding will go directly to needed victim services rather than grant administration.
  3. S.1925 adopts almost word-for-word the accountability measures developed by Senator Grassley for the Trafficking Victims Reauthorization Act.
  4. S.1925 does not create “new victims” or support “special interests.”  The real VAWA protects all victims of these crimes, regardless of their age, gender, race, citizenship, sexuality, or faith. 
  5. Our nation must not say, "There are too many victims” or “You are not the ‘right’ kind of victim.” All victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking deserve help.  That’s what S. 1925, the real VAWA, does.  Please support VAWA’s reauthorization. 

 

Please contact these senators – they are either former sponsors* or have expressed interest or support for VAWA currently, or in the past, or hold a Senate leadership position:

  • Cochran, Thad - (R - MS) (202) 224-5054 Judiciary LA: Carlisle Clarke, Women's Issues LA: Elyse Marcellino
  • Cornyn, John - (R - TX) 202) 224-2934 Judiciary LA: Matt Johnson, Women's Issues LA: Michelle Chin
  • Hutchison, Kay Bailey - (R - TX) (202) 224-5922 Judiciary and Women’s issues LA: Jenifer Healy
  • Alexander, Lamar - (R – TN (202) 224-4944 Judiciary LA: Peter Oppenheim, Women's Issues LA: Mary-Sumpter Lapinski
  • Enzi, Michael B. - (R - WY) (202) 224-3424 Judiciary LA: Wendy Gnehm, Women's Issues LA: Travis Jordan
  • Graham, Lindsey - (R - SC) (202) 224-5972 Judiciary and Women’s Issues LA: Walt Kuhn
  • Kyl, Jon - (R - AZ) (202) 224-4521 Judiciary LA: Stephen Higgins, Women's Issues LA: Elizabeth Maier
  • Lugar, Richard G. - (R – IN) (202) 224-4814 Judiciary and Women’s Issues LA: Joe O'Donnell
  • McConnell, Mitch - (R - KY) Minority Leader  (202) 224-2541 Judiciary LA: Russell Coleman,  Women’s, Native American and Child/Family Issues LA: Sarah Arbes
  • Moran, Jerry - (R - KS)  (202) 224-6521 Judiciary LA: Darby O'Donnell, Women: Brian Perkins, Native American Affairs: Jesse Rundle.  Click here to watch Senator Moran's video.   
  • Portman, Rob - (R - OH)  (202) 224-3353 Judiciary and Women’s Issues LA: Aja Brooks, Native American Affairs LA: Stephen Kittredge
  • Risch, James E. - (R – ID (202) 224-2752 Judiciary LA: Brianne Miller,Women LA: Rebecca Cotton, Native American  LA: Darren Parker
  • Toomey, Patrick J. - (R - PA) (202) 224-4254 Judiciary & Women LA: Tessie Abraham, Native American Affairs LA: Mitch Vidovich

Thank you for all your great work!!  

  • Be sure to check out the rest of our website for fact sheets, press coverage, and support letters.
  • Check out and “like” our Facebook page where you can find a toolkit and other action and information items.
  • Don’t forget to tweet about VAWA using the hashtags #ReauthorizeVAWA and #VAWA.
  • If you aren't on one of the VAWA email lists or want to add members of your staff or state/community leaders to our grassroots alerts e-mailing list, send names and contact information including email to Sean Black, sblack@icasa.org.

It’s time for IN DISTRICT education and awareness meetings with your senators and representatives!

VAWA (S. 1925) now has 61 sponsors – and while Congress is in recess, now is the time to talk with the senators and representatives in your state to urge them to support S. 1925.  Tell them that it’s important to get VAWA passed asap without harmful or weakening amendments.  April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month so consider tying your meeting to the important improvements VAWA makes to respond to the crime of sexual assault.

You may have heard or seen reports about VAWA in the House. Gwen Moore (D-WI) made an important step forward last week when she introduced the Senate version of VAWA and asked that it be brought up during the budget discussions.  That procedural vote failed but House women used the opportunity to have a brief floor discussion about the importance of VAWA. 

During her floor speech Moore spoke powerfully of her own history as a survivor of sexual assault and teen rape – a moving kickoff for April’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month.  Moore’s bill is an important placeholder while Judiciary committee chair Lamar Smith (R-TX) and ranking member John Conyers (D-MI) work on drafting a bi-partisan bill aimed at passage this summer.

 

TAKE ACTION:

  1. Visit your senators in their district offices and urge them to sign on to S. 1925 or, if they are already supporting the bill, to thank them for their support and ask them to oppose any partisan attempts to trim or undermine the “real VAWA.” Ask your senators to touch base with Majority Leader Reid to get VAWA to the Senate floor asap. Ask your representatives to move VAWA forward ASAP in the House.
  2. Write a letter to the editor supporting VAWA and stating why it needs to go to the Senate floor (tips below!).  This is a great time for letters and opinion pieces to appear in your local paper while the members are at home!
  3. Continue to contact Senator Reid and ask him to bring VAWA up for a vote the week of April 16.
  4. Contact Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) and ask her to support the “real VAWA” and not a substitute that leaves out too many victims.

ACTION 1:   Senators and representatives will be home for two weeks starting last Friday.   If  your Senator  is one of the 39 who is NOT a sponsor of VAWA, find out where they will be during the break and/or call their office today and ask them to co-sponsor S. 1925. If they are unable or unwilling to add their name as a co-sponsor, ask them to at least vote for cloture (needs 60 votes) so that the bill can come to the Senate floor for amendments, debate and a final vote for passage.  Ask your Representative to move VAWA through the House as soon as possible – because VAWA is expired and victims cannot wait.

Here is your message: “A lot of misinformation is being circulated by the bills detractors about S. 1925, the real VAWA.  I want to set the record straight:

  1. Since VAWA first passed, the number of individuals killed by an intimate partner has decreased by 34% for women and 57% for men. VAWA has saved lives while saving money, saving $12.6 billion in its first 6 years alone.
  2. S. 1925 saves money by consolidating and repealing more than 15 programs, ensuring more funding will go directly to needed victim services rather than grant administration.
  3. S. 1925 adopts almost word-for-word the accountability measures developed by Senator Grassley for the Trafficking Victims Reauthorization Act.
  4. S. 1925 does not create “new victims” or support “special interests.”  The real VAWA protects all victims of these crimes, regardless of their age, gender, race, citizenship, sexuality, or faith. 
  5. Our nation must not say, "There are too many victims” or “You are not the ‘right’ kind of victim.” All victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking deserve help.  That’s what S. 1925, the real VAWA, does.  Please support VAWA’s reauthorization.  Thank you.”

Please contact these senators – they are either former sponsors* or have expressed interest or support for VAWA currently or in the past:

  • Cochran, Thad - (R - MS) (202) 224-5054 Judiciary LA: Carlisle Clarke, Women's Issues LA: Elyse Marcellino
  • Cornyn, John - (R - TX) 202) 224-2934 Judiciary LA: Matt Johnson, Women's Issues LA: Michelle Chin
  • Hutchison, Kay Bailey - (R - TX) (202) 224-5922 Judiciary and Women’s issues LA: Jenifer Healy
  • Alexander, Lamar - (R – TN (202) 224-4944 Judiciary LA: Peter Oppenheim, Women's Issues LA: Mary-Sumpter Lapinski
  • Enzi, Michael B. - (R - WY) (202) 224-3424 Judiciary LA: Wendy Gnehm, Women's Issues LA: Travis Jordan
  • Graham, Lindsey - (R - SC) (202) 224-5972 Judiciary and Women’s Issues LA: Walt Kuhn
  • Kyl, Jon - (R - AZ) (202) 224-4521 Judiciary LA: Stephen Higgins, Women's Issues LA: Elizabeth Maier
  • Lugar, Richard G. - (R – IN) (202) 224-4814 Judiciary and Women’s Issues LA: Joe O'Donnell
  • McConnell, Mitch - (R - KY) Minority Leader  (202) 224-2541 Judiciary LA: Russell Coleman,  Women’s, Native American and Child/Family Issues LA: Sarah Arbes
  • Moran, Jerry - (R - KS)  (202) 224-6521 Judiciary LA: Darby O'Donnell, Women: Brian Perkins, Native American Affairs: Jesse Rundle.  Watch Sen. Moran's video
  • Portman, Rob - (R - OH)  (202) 224-3353 Judiciary and Women’s Issues LA: Aja Brooks, Native American Affairs LA: Stephen Kittredge
  • Risch, James E. - (R – ID (202) 224-2752 Judiciary LA: Brianne Miller,Women LA: Rebecca Cotton, Native American  LA: Darren Parker
  • Toomey, Patrick J. - (R - PA) (202) 224-4254 Judiciary & Women LA: Tessie Abraham, Native American Affairs LA: Mitch Vidovich

 

ACTION 2:  Write a letter to the editor to get VAWA to the Senate Floor! Find suggested language below which you should feel free to edit and personalize. Click here to find media contacts in your area.

To The Editor:

The Violence Against Women Act, S. 1925, has 61 bipartisan sponsors including [your state and sponsoring Senators]. There are fewer than a dozen bills in Congress right now that have this type of bipartisan support.   In 1994, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was a giant step forward for our nation and the Act is overdue for reauthorization. Yet, Senator Reid has yet to call it to the floor.  We hope this is simply an oversight.

Domestic violence and sexual assault are pervasive social problems that must end.  In fact, domestic violence and sexual assault affect everyone in [name of local community] in some way.  VAWA’s passage meant that our federal government finally acknowledged the tremendous harm caused by these crimes and provided a critical investment to help victims. Evidence shows that this legislation works to stop violence and millions of families are better off as a result. We need to keep these provisions in place. As a society, we cannot go backwards. 

In fact, we must go forward and protect all victims of violence – and S. 1925 does this.  Many victims, women and men, have not been able to get help in the past and it is important to extend protections to victims of crime including immigrant victims who assist law enforcement, victims on tribal lands regardless of who assaults them, and all individuals regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.  The time has come to again reauthorize this critical legislation.

Sincerely,

[Name, Title, Organization, Contact Info]

 

If you want to write you own Op Ed or Letter to the Editor, here are some tips from NTF.

Tips on Writing a Successful Op-ed Piece on VAWA Reauthorization

Most daily and weekly newspapers accept op-ed submissions for publication. They are called op-ed articles because they commonly appear on the opposite page from the editorial page. Longer than letters to the editor, op-ed pieces generally are between 500 and 700 words. Most newspapers publish op-ed guidelines, including maximum length and methods of submission, on their websites. Be sure to include contact information for the op-ed’s author or signatory on any submission. If a paper decides to publish an op-ed, they typically contact the submitter to verify its authenticity and to secure permission to print it. Note that papers usually reserve the right to edit any submission before publishing it.

Tips on writing an op-ed:

  • Use short, simple sentences. Be simple without being simplistic.
  • Avoid jargon or terms that only advocates would be familiar with.
  • Avoid using acronyms and abbreviations (e.g. VAWA). Instead, spell it out or use terms like “legislation” or “Act.”
  • Use colorful language, clichés, metaphors and/or analogies.
  • Use absolute terms like “first-ever,” “never before,” and “second to none.”
  • Explicitly support VAWA’s swift reauthorization.
  • Consider a call to action. What can readers do should they feel compelled to take action after reading your op-ed?
  • Without compromising confidentiality or safety, personalize the op-ed with a specific anecdote about how VAWA has helped an individual or group.
  • Link the op-ed to a current news story – local, regional or national.
  • If you use statistics or dollar amounts, make them meaningful. Large or small numbers are more meaningful when readers can connect them to something they already know. For example, “enough people to fill Valley High School’s football stadium,” or “the same amount of money the government spent on one dump truck.”
  • Give VAWA a human face. Rather than getting into too many legislative details, it’s important for readers to understand that VAWA is more than words on a page; it affects people’s lives every day.

Suggested Outline for an Op-ed:

  • Start with a short anecdote or a current news story commentary. The first few sentences are critical to catching a reader’s interest and compelling them to read more.
  • Make your most important point in the first or second paragraph.
  • Describe two or three supporting points in the following paragraphs. Use meaningful facts, statistics, and studies to support your points.
  • Conclude with a paragraph that draws the piece together and links to your opening anecdote or current events commentary.

 

ACTION 3: S. 1925 has enough sponsors to go to the Senate floor for a vote without a filibuster.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has the power to schedule VAWA for a vote.  Ask him to do it ASAP

  • If you are not from Nevada, call 202-224-3542 (D.C. office).
  • If you are from Nevada, call 775-686-5750 (Reno office).

ACTION 4: It has been reported that former VAWA sponsor and retiring Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) will be doing the bidding of the Senate Judiciary Republicans and offering a weakening substitute to S. 1925 when it comes to the Senate floor for a vote

According to a March 28 article in Congressional Quarterly Today: “The emerging GOP plan would omit proposals to broaden tribal authority to enforce restraining orders, relax limits on temporary U visas for immigrant women who have been victims of domestic violence and ban discrimination by grantees based on sexual orientation or gender identity. “We’re looking for a reauthorization that is as close as we can keep it to a reauthorization,” Hutchison said. Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the Judiciary panel’s top Republican and an outspoken opponent of Leahy’s bill, is deferring to Hutchison, the only woman in the Senate who is not a cosponsor of the legislation.”

Suggested message

“If Senator Hutchison opposes VAWA, S.1925, and offers Senator Grassley’s substitute she will be letting down victims of violence not just in Texas but all over the nation.  Immigrant women, Native women and LGBT victims of domestic and sexual violence have long been under-served and ill-served and S. 1925 simply attempts to address this oversight and help more girls and women, boys and men.”

Contact information for Hutchison, Kay Bailey - (R - TX); Chief of Staff: Cliff Shannon; Legis. Dir.: Dave Davis; Judiciary and Women’s issues LA: Jenifer Healy; Native American Affairs LA: David Haines :

  • If you live in Texas:  contact her Dallas office (214) 361-3500
  • If you live in or outside Texas, contact her DC office (202) 224-5922

 

Thank you for all your great work!!  

  • Be sure to look through our website for fact sheets, press coverage, support letters and updates.
  • Check out and “like” our Facebook page where you can find a toolkit and other action and information items:
  • Don’t forget to tweet about VAWA using the hashtags #ReauthorizeVAWA and #VAWA.
  • If you aren't on one of the VAWA email lists or want to add members of your staff or state/community leaders to our grassroots alerts e-mailing list, send names and contact information including email to Sean Black, sblack@icasa.org.

The time to act is NOW for upcoming Senate vote on VAWA!

VAWA (S. 1925) now has 61 sponsors!

Be sure and thank senators Heller, Dean (R–NV)  at (202) 224-6244 and Ayotte, Kelly (R–NH) at (202) 224-3324 for adding their names to the bill last week. Our goal was 60 sponsors by the first day of spring and WE MADE IT THANKS TO YOUR EFFORTS!


TAKE ACTION:

Action 1: Call Senator Reid’s office with this message: “Please bring VAWA to the floor THIS week, and if you cannot do that, please file a cloture petition before the Senate goes home at the end of the week so Senators can vote on VAWA as soon as you get back April 16.”

  • If you are not from Nevada, call 202-224-3542 (D.C. office).
  • If you are from Nevada, call 775-686-5750 (Reno office).

Action 2:  Write a letter to the editor to get VAWA to the Senate Floor! Find suggested language below which you should feel free to edit and personalize. Click here to find media contacts in your area: 

To The Editor:

The Violence Against Women Act, S. 1925, has 61 bipartisan sponsors including [your state and sponsoring Senators]. There are fewer than a dozen bills in Congress right now that have this type of bipartisan support.   In 1994, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was a giant step forward for our nation and the Act is overdue for reauthorization. Yet, Senator Reid has yet to call it to the floor.  We hope this is simply an oversight.

Domestic violence and sexual assault are pervasive social problems that must end.  In fact, domestic violence and sexual assault affect everyone in [name of local community] in some way.  VAWA’s passage meant that our federal government finally acknowledged the tremendous harm caused by these crimes and provided a critical investment to help victims. Evidence shows that this legislation works to stop violence and millions of families are better off as a result. We need to keep these provisions in place. As a society, we cannot go backwards. 

In fact, we must go forward and protect all victims of violence – and S. 1925 does this.  Many victims, women and men, have not been able to get help in the past and it is important to extend protections to victims of crime including immigrant victims who assist law enforcement, victims on tribal lands regardless of who assaults them, and all individuals regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.  The time has come to again reauthorize this critical legislation.

Sincerely,

[Name, Title, Organization, Contact Info]

If you want to write you own Op Ed or Letter to the Editor, here are some tips from NTF.

Tips on Writing a Successful Op-ed Piece on VAWA Reauthorization:

Most daily and weekly newspapers accept op-ed submissions for publication. They are called op-ed articles because they commonly appear on the opposite page from the editorial page. Longer than letters to the editor, op-ed pieces generally are between 500 and 700 words. Most newspapers publish op-ed guidelines, including maximum length and methods of submission, on their websites. Be sure to include contact information for the op-ed’s author or signatory on any submission. If a paper decides to publish an op-ed, they typically contact the submitter to verify its authenticity and to secure permission to print it. Note that papers usually reserve the right to edit any submission before publishing it.

Here are some more tips on writing an op-ed:

  • Use short, simple sentences. Be simple without being simplistic.
  • Avoid jargon or terms that only advocates would be familiar with.
  • Avoid using acronyms and abbreviations (e.g. VAWA). Instead, spell it out or use terms like “legislation” or “Act.”
  • Use colorful language, clichés, metaphors and/or analogies.
  • Use absolute terms like “first-ever,” “never before,” and “second to none.”
  • Explicitly support VAWA’s swift reauthorization.
  • Consider a call to action. What can readers do should they feel compelled to take action after reading your op-ed?
  • Without compromising confidentiality or safety, personalize the op-ed with a specific anecdote about how VAWA has helped an individual or group.
  • Link the op-ed to a current news story – local, regional or national.
  • If you use statistics or dollar amounts, make them meaningful. Large or small numbers are more meaningful when readers can connect them to something they already know. For example, “enough people to fill Valley High School’s football stadium,” or “the same amount of money the government spent on one dump truck.”
  • Give VAWA a human face. Rather than getting into too many legislative details, it’s important for readers to understand that VAWA is more than words on a page; it affects people’s lives every day.

Suggested Outline for an Op-ed:

  • Start with a short anecdote or a current news story commentary. The first few sentences are critical to catching a reader’s interest and compelling them to read more.
  • Make your most important point in the first or second paragraph.
  • Describe two or three supporting points in the following paragraphs. Use meaningful facts, statistics, and studies to support your points.
  • Conclude with a paragraph that draws the piece together and links to your opening anecdote or current events commentary.

Action 3: Senators will be home for two weeks starting this Friday.  If  your Senator is one of the 39 who is NOT a sponsor of VAWA, find out where they will be during the break and/or call their office today and ask them to co-sponsor S. 1925. If they are unable or unwilling to add their name as a co-sponsor, ask them to at least vote for cloture (needs 60 votes) so that the bill can come to the Senate floor for amendments, debate and a final vote for passage. 

Here is your message: “A lot of misinformation is being circulated by the bills detractors about S. 1925, the real VAWA.  I want to set the record straight:

  1. Since VAWA first passed, the number of individuals killed by an intimate partner has decreased by 34% for women and 57% for men. VAWA has saved lives while saving money, saving $12.6 billion in its first 6 years alone.
  2. S. 1925 saves money by consolidating and repealing more than 15 programs, ensuring more funding will go directly to needed victim services rather than grant administration.
  3. S. 1925 adopts almost word-for-word the accountability measures developed by Senator Grassley for the Trafficking Victims Reauthorization Act.
  4. S. 1925 does not create “new victims” or support “special interests.”  The real VAWA protects all victims of these crimes, regardless of their age, gender, race, citizenship, sexuality, or faith.
  5. Our nation must not say, "There are too many victims” or “You are not the ‘right’ kind of victim.” All victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking deserve help.  That’s what S. 1925, the real VAWA, does.  Please support VAWA’s reauthorization.  Thank you.”

Please contact these senators – they are either former sponsors* or have expressed interest or support for VAWA currently or in the past:

  • Cochran, Thad - (R - MS) (202) 224-5054 Judiciary LA: Carlisle Clarke, Women's Issues LA: Elyse Marcellino
  • Cornyn, John - (R - TX) 202) 224-2934 Judiciary LA: Matt Johnson, Women's Issues LA: Michelle Chin
  • Hutchison, Kay Bailey  (R - TX) - (202) 224-5922 Judiciary and Women’s issues LA: Jenifer Healy
  • Alexander, Lamar  (R – TN) - (202) 224-4944 Judiciary LA: Peter Oppenheim, Women's Issues LA: Mary-Sumpter Lapinski
  • Enzi, Michael B.  (R - WY) - (202) 224-3424 Judiciary LA: Wendy Gnehm, Women's Issues LA: Travis Jordan
  • Graham, Lindsey  (R - SC) - (202) 224-5972 Judiciary and Women’s Issues LA: Walt Kuhn
  • Kyl, Jon (R - AZ) - (202) 224-4521 Judiciary LA: Stephen Higgins, Women's Issues LA: Elizabeth Maier
  • Lugar, Richard G.  (R – IN) - (202) 224-4814 Judiciary and Women’s Issues LA: Joe O'Donnell
  • McConnell, Mitch  (R - KY) - Minority Leader  (202) 224-2541 Judiciary LA: Russell Coleman,  Women’s, Native American and Child/Family Issues LA: Sarah Arbes
  • Moran, Jerry  (R - KS) - (202) 224-6521 Judiciary LA: Darby O'Donnell, Women: Brian Perkins, Native American Affairs: Jesse Rundle     
  • Portman, Rob  (R - OH) - (202) 224-3353 Judiciary and Women’s Issues LA: Aja Brooks, Native American Affairs LA: Stephen Kittredge
  • Risch, James E.  (R – ID) - (202) 224-2752 Judiciary LA: Brianne Miller,Women LA: Rebecca Cotton, Native American  LA: Darren Parker
  • Toomey, Patrick J.  (R - PA) - (202) 224-4254 Judiciary & Women LA: Tessie Abraham, Native American Affairs LA: Mitch Vidovich

 

Be sure to check out and “like” our Facebook page where you can find a toolkit and other action and information items.

Don’t forget to tweet about VAWA using the hashtags #ReauthorizeVAWA and #VAWA.

If you aren't on one of the VAWA email lists or want to add members of your staff or state/community leaders to our grassroots alerts e-mailing list, send names and contact information including email to Sean Black, sblack@icasa.org.