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.

You did it!! We now have 61 Sponsors in the Senate!

Thanks to Senator Heller (R-NV) and Senator Ayotte (R-NH) who signed on to sponsor VAWA this week, we now have 61 sponsors!  Thank you for all your hard work! 

Now we need to secure our sponsors’ commitment to S. 1925, the real VAWA, and to get as many new Senate supporters as possible.  VAWA is coming to the Senate Floor and we need to have as big an outpouring of support as we can!  This week, we want you to help us by signing petitions, engaging your friends and family and getting the word out that every Senator needs to hear from you and your loved ones about why VAWA must be passed immediately

Things are moving quickly – so “like” our Facebook page to get up to the minute information and make sure to visit the 4vawa.org website often.

TAKE ACTION TODAY!

Action 1:  Ask your FRIENDS and FAMILY to call both of their senators’ D.C. offices today  and ask them vote YES on S. 1925 the real VAWA:

I urge Senator _____ to support the Violence Against Women Act and vote YES on S. 1925 AS IS. Don’t use VAWA as a political tool – pass it now so that all survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking can get the support they need!

 

Action 2:  Ask all the men you know to sign a petition supporting VAWA

VAWA is everyone’s issue.  Help us engage more men by asking the men you know and love to sign the 10,000 Men for VAWA petition.

 

Check out the fact sheets, press coverage, support letters on our website. 

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.

VAWA may be on the Senate Floor THIS week!

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) plans to bring VAWA, S.1925, to the Senate Floor very, very soon—possibly *this* week!

We still need everyone who cares about VAWA to call their senators and urge them to vote YES on VAWA!

Action:  Call both of your senators’ D.C. offices today and ask them vote YES on VAWA:

I urge Senator _____ to support the Violence Against Women Act and vote YES on S.1925 AS IS. A vote for VAWA is a vote for women and for all victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking.

 

Also, check out our Facebook page where you can find a toolkit and other action and information items. And when you tweet about VAWA, be sure to use 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 Senate vote on VAWA!

Congratulations on your fantastic advocacy efforts! Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has agreed to bring VAWA, S. 1925, to the Senate Floor very, very soon—possibly next week! And Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) became a co-sponsor of VAWA yesterday bringing our total co-sponsors to 59! We now need everyone who cares about VAWA to call their senators and urge them to vote YES on VAWA!

ACTION: Call both of your senators’ D.C. offices today and ask them vote YES on VAWA:

I urge Senator _____ to support the Violence Against Women Act and vote YES on S. 1925 AS IS. A vote for VAWA is a vote for women and for all victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking.

Continue to visit our website for updates, 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.

 

EMERGENCY CALLS NEEDED BEFORE TOMORROW MORNING!!

Important tribal improvements for Native women are under attack.

TAKE ACTION in the next 24 hours

  1. EMERGENCY – CALLS NEEDED BEFORE TOMORROW MORNING.  Please call members of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee IMMEDIATELY and encourage them to support S.1925, especially if you live in Wyoming, Arizona, Alaska, North Dakota, Idaho, or Nebraska!  
  2. LET’S GET THOSE LAST TWO SPONSORS IN THE SENATE.   S.1925, the “real” VAWA, has 59 Senate sponsors!!!  We have set March 20th—the first day of spring - to reach our goal of 60 filibuster-proof sponsors so we have 1 more to go.  We only need two more – and we need your help!  We can do this!  If your Senator is not a VAWA sponsor, call them at their Hill office, ask for the staff person who handles VAWA and offer to help them convince their Senator to sponsor S. 1925. 
  3. Ask Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to schedule a vote on VAWA.
  4. Tweet for VAWA. Join the twitter carnival for #ReauthorizeVAWA on Wednesday, March 14th at 12pm EDT, 11am CDT, 10am MDT, 9am PDT

Action 1. Call your Senator, especially if you live in Wyoming, Arizona, Alaska, North Dakota, Idaho, or Nebraska!   When you call, tell your Senator, "The tribal provisions in Section 904 of S.1925 are absolutely critical to ensure the safety of Native women and their access to safety and equal justice." More talking points on the tribal provisions can be found here.  For more information, Katy Jackman, Katy_Jackman@NCAI.org National Congress of American Indians 202.466.7767, ext. 232

Action 2:  If  your Senator is one of the 42 who are NOT sponsors of VAWA,  call their office today and ask them to co-sponsor S. 1925. VAWA needs two more sponsors and many more supporters.  Please contact the below Senators – they are either former sponsors or have expressed interest or support for VAWA currently or in the past.  Ask them to sponsor S. 1925 and if they cannot, ask them to pledge their support when it comes to the Senate floor in the weeks ahead.  Here are a few messaging points you can share:

"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.”

 

  • 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
  • Ayotte, Kelly - (R – NH (202) 224-3324 Judiciary LA: John Lawrence, Women's Issues LA: Daniel Auger
  • 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
  • Heller, Dean - (R - NV) (202) 224-6244 Judiciary and Women’s Issues LA: Leeann Gibson
  • 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

Action 3: Call Senator Reid’s office with this message: “Thank you for sponsoring VAWA!  We need Senator Reid to continue to be our champion for the whole country. Please schedule S. 1925 for a floor vote as soon as possible.”

  • If you are not from Nevada 202-224-3542 DC office
  • If you are from Nevada: 775-686-5750 Reno office

Action 4:  Participate in the #ReauthorizeVAWA Twitter Carnival on Wednesday, March 14th at 12pm EDT, 11am CDT, 10am MDT, 9am PDT

  • Thank @SenatorLeahy & #SenatorCrapo 4 leading the way to #ReauthorizeVAWA! 4vawa.org RT
  • Your colleagues need encouragement @USSenScottBrown. Tell us Y U support S.1925 to #ReauthorizeVAWA! 4vawa.org RT
  • Hey @senatortester MT thanks U 4 co-sponsoring S.1925 to #ReauthorizeVAWA! RT
  • #ReauthorizeVAWA! 58 senators know what's right. Pass S.1925! #VAWA RT
  • Hey Senator @lisamurkowski, tell us Y U support S.1925 to #ReauthorizeVAWA! 4vawa.org RT
  • Hey Senator @robportman OH wants U 2 help pass S.1925 to #ReauthorizeVAWA! 4vawa.org
  • 58 Senators R co-sponsoring S.1925 to #ReauthorizeVAWA.  Is ur senator 1 of them? RT
  • Violence is unacceptable @SenAlexander. Co-sponsor S.1925 to #ReauthorizeVAWA! 4vawa.org
  • 3 cheers for @SenatorCollins 4 co-sponsoring S.1925 to #ReauthorizeVAWA! RT
  • What R U waiting for Senator @KellyAyotte? Sign on to S.1925 to #ReauthorizeVAWA! RT
  • Let's do the right thing @senatorlugar. Please co-sponsor S.1925 to #ReauthorizeVAWA now!
  • Hey @SenatorSnowe, Y aren’t U a co-sponsor of S.1925 to #ReauthorizeVAWA?! 4vawa.org RT
  • Thank U @SenatorKirk 4 co-sponsoring the real #VAWA, S.1925! #ReauthorizeVAWA! RT
  • Help end the violence @SenJonKyl. Co-sponsor S.1925 to #ReauthorizeVAWA! 4vawa.org
  • Thank U @Sen_JoeManchin for co-sponsoring S.1925 to #ReauthorizeVAWA! RT
  • Hey Senators co-sponsor S.1925 2 #ReauthorizeVAWA w/ @SenatorLeahy & #SenatorCrapo in the lead. 4vawa.org
  • Hey UT @SenMikeLee needs encouragement 2 co-sponsor S.1925 to #ReauthorizeVAWA! 4vawa.org
  • Senator @DeanHeller, NV needs U 2 do the right thing & co-sponsor S.1925 to #ReauthorizeVAWA! RT
  • Senator @GrahamBlog 58 senators already co-sponsor S.1925 to #ReauthorizeVAWA! SC wants U 2 be 1 of them!
  • We need 2 #ReauthorizeVAWA now!  Co-sponsor S.1925, the @SenatorLeahy & #SenatorCrapo bill. 4vawa.org
  • Senator @TomCoburn, OK wants U 2 do the right thing & co-sponsor S.1925 to #ReauthorizeVAWA!
  • VA thanks U Senator @MarkWarner 4 co-sponsoring S.1925 to #ReauthorizeVAWA! RT
  • CO thanks U Senator @MarkUdall 4 co-sponsoring S.1925 to #ReauthorizeVAWA! 4vawa.org
  • OR thanks U @SenJeffMerkley 4 co-sponsoring S.1925 to #ReauthorizeVAWA! 4vawa.org
  • 58 senators are co-sponsoring the real #VAWA, S.1925! Let's get it to 60! #ReauthorizeVAWA RT
  • OH thanks U @SenSherrodBrown 4 co-sponsoring S.1925 to #ReauthorizeVAWA! RT
  • CO thanks U @SenBennetCO 4 co-sponsoring S.1925 to #ReauthorizeVAWA! 4vawa.org
  • Hey @SenatorSnowe, ME wants to know Y ur not a co-sponsor of S.1925 to #ReauthorizeVAWA! 4vawa.org
  • Thank U @SenMarkPryor for co-sponsoring S.1925 to #ReauthorizeVAWA! RT
  • NE thanks U @SenBenNelson 4 co-sponsoring S.1925 to #ReauthorizeVAWA! RT
  • CT thanks U Senator @JoeLieberman 4 co-sponsoring S.1925 to #ReauthorizeVAWA! RT
  • HI thanks U Senator @Daniel_Inouye 4 co-sponsoring S.1925 to #ReauthorizeVAWA! RT
  • Hey Senator @kaybaileyhutch, TX wants U 2 co-sponsor S.1925 to #ReauthorizeVAWA! 4vawa.org
  • Where is ur conscience Senator @OrrinHatch? Co-sponsor S.1925 to #ReauthorizeVAWA! RT
  • Senator @ChuckGrassley, IA expects U 2 support the real #VAWA, S.1925! #ReauthorizeVAWA! RT
  • Senator @JohnCornyn, TX expects U 2 support the real #VAWA, S.1925! #ReauthorizeVAWA! RT
  • DE thanks U @SenatorCarper 4 co-sponsoring S.1925 to #ReauthorizeVAWA! RT
  • HI thanks U @SenatorAkaka 4 co-sponsoring S.1925 to #ReauthorizeVAWA! RT
  • #VAWA rocks! And so do you @SenatorLeahy & #SenatorCrapo! #ReauthorizeVAWA now! RT

HUGE thanks to all who all who have been tweeting and retweeting about VAWA.  Now we need to make #ReauthorizeVAWA a trending topic on twitter. In order to do that we need a lot of people to tweet and retweet messages including the hashtag #ReauthorizeVAWA in a SHORT amount of time. The bigger a splash we can make by sharing this, the better! 

You can help us trend #ReauthorizeVAWA by tweeting this message on Wednesday, March 14th at noon EST.  If you can’t/won’t be in front of your computers or hand-helds at noon you can still send out the post on twitter at noon by signing up on HootSuite  and scheduling your messages to post on March 14 at noon (just make sure you’re time settings are for EDT).  During the Twitter Carnival, you should also retweet and respond to the twitters of others – always including #ReauthorizeVAWA.  Try following @BreakTheCycleDV for VAWA related tweets that you can retweet during the weekly Twitter Carnivals and all week long.

Check out and “like” our Facebook page where you can find a toolkit and other action and information items.

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.

Where are the Rest of the Senate Women?

Make a Difference on International Women's Day by asking the Remaining Women Senators to support VAWA!

Hutchison, Kay Bailey (R - TX):  Call (202) 224-5922 and speak with Jenifer Healy, Judiciary and Women's issues LA.

Snowe, Olympia J. (R - ME):  Call (202) 224-5344 and speak with Amy Pellegrino, Women's Issues LA.

Ayotte, Kelly (R - NH): Call (202) 224-3324 and speak with John Lawrence, Judiciary LA and Daniel Auger, Women's Issues LA.

Today is International Women's Day - a day to celebrate the achievements of women around the world in struggling for equality. To continue the amazing progress women have made in this country, having VAWA pass the Senate is vital. You can make a difference today! We now have 58 sponsors for S. 1925, the "real" VAWA introduced by Senators Leahy (D-VT) and Crapo (R-ID)!!

We need two more sponsors and several more supporters. Listed above is the contact information for the remaining 3 women Senators who have yet to sponsor the bipartisan VAWA.  All are former sponsors or have expressed interest or support for VAWA. Please call and ask them to sponsor S. 1925; or, if they cannot do that, ask them to pledge their support for a clean bill when VAWA comes to the Senate floor in the weeks ahead.

We must do this to protect the rights of women and girls everywhere! And what a better day than today for our advocacy.  Please help by urging the women senators to support VAWA and take action on behalf of women and girls for International Women's Day!

Action: Call and ask the remaining women senators to pledge their support for VAWA:

"In honor of International Women's Day, please add your support to S. 1925, the VAWA bill. We need your sponsorship and support in championing the rights of the nation's women and girls through this critical legislation. VAWA stands for the progress of women's equality that International Women's Day recognizes."

 

 

Call Senator Reid’s Office Today!

We now have 58 sponsors for S. 1925, the “real” VAWA introduced by Senators Leahy (D-VT) and Crapo (R-ID)!!  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) signed on as a sponsor this week!!!  We have set March 20th—the first day of spring - to reach our goal of 60 filibuster-proof sponsors so we have 2 more to go!  We can do this! 

Action: Call Senator Reid’s office to thank him and urge him to get VAWA to the floor for a vote:

“Thank you for sponsoring VAWA!  We need Senator Reid to continue to be our champion for the whole country.  Please schedule S. 1925 for a floor vote as soon as possible.”

If you are not from Nevada call the DC office: 202-224-3542
If you are from Nevada call the Reno office:  775-686-5750

 

TELL CONGRESS THAT S. 1925, THE REAL VAWA, IS EVERYONE’S VAWA AND MUST BE PASSED!

S. 1925, the “real” VAWA, has 57 Senate sponsors - Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR) signed on as a sponsor today!!!  We have set March 20th—the first day of spring—to reach our goal of 60 filibuster-proof sponsors.  We have 3 more to go.  Last week, Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Mark Udall (D-CO) signed.  Please thank our 3 new co-sponsors!  We can do this! 

VAWA has always been intended to serve ALL survivors.  Every version of the bill since 1994 has worked to improve awareness about and expansion of prevention programs and the provision of services that included all victims of sexual, domestic, dating and stalking violence. 

Read more about how S. 1925 enhances protections for underserved populations on our VAWA Fact Sheets page. Underserved populations are those who are provided with inadequate or non-existent services.  Since 1994, VAWA has been about opening doors for all victims of sexual and domestic violence who have historically been ignored or provided with inadequate or substandard treatment and services – whether due to insufficient funds and scarce resources or discriminatory practices. The Leahy/Crapo Bill (S.1925) continues this intent by offering a gateway for greater reach to all victims by: an improved definition of underserved; an enhanced underserved populations grant program; and specific supports throughout VAWA for underserved populations. When you talk with your Senators, please tell them to support S. 1925 because it opens doors for all victims! 

TAKE ACTION TODAY!

Suggested actions for this week include:

  1. Reach our goal for 60 Senate co-sponsors!  If your Senator is not a VAWA sponsor, call them at their Hill office, ask for the staff person who handles VAWA and offer to help them convince their Senator to sponsor S. 1925. 
  2. Ask Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to schedule a vote on VAWA!
  3. Tweet for VAWA – Join the twitter carnival for #ReauthorizeVAWA on Wednesday, March 7th at 12pm EST, 11am CST, 10am MST, 9am PST

 

Action 1:  If  your Senator is one of the 43 who are NOT sponsors of VAWA, call their office today and ask them to co-sponsor S. 1925: When you call, tell your Senator that only S. 1925 represents real, critical, lifesaving protections for ALL victims and all other versions fall short. Check out our new talking points here about why S. 1925 is the only REAL VAWA. Go to the THOMAS (Library of Congress), select search by bill number, and type in the bill S.1925 for a list of sponsors and thank your Senator if he/she is already a co-sponsor.  Don’t panic if the latest sponsors aren’t there – it takes a few days for their names to be posted.

Suggested Senators who should be a VAWA sponsor:

6 Senators have been VAWA sponsors in the past.  Maybe they just need to be reminded and for sure they need to be persuaded. VAWA programs and services are under-funded and under attack.  It’s time to step up for victims of sexual assault and dating, domestic and stalking violence.  Cochran, Thad  (R-MS), Cornyn, John (R-TX), Grassley, Chuck (R-IA), Hatch, Orrin (R-UT), Hutchison, Kay Bailey (R-TX),  Snowe, Olympia (R-ME)

There are Senators who have expressed interest in (or should care about) VAWA and some have been supportive of program funding and services in the past. Ask them to step up to this crisis: Alexander, Lamar (R-TN), Ayotte, Kelly  (R-NH), Enzi, Michael (R-WY), Graham, Lindsey (R-SC), Heller, Dean (R-NV), Kyl, Jon  (R-AZ), and Lugar, Richard (R-IN).

 

Action 2: Call Senator Reid’s office with this message:

We need Senator Reid to continue to be our champion for the whole country. Please sponsor the Violence Against Women Act and schedule S. 1925 for a floor vote as soon as possible.”

If you are not from Nevada call the DC office:  202-224-3542 DC
If you are from Nevada call the Reno office: 775-686-5750

 

Action 3: Participate in the #ReauthorizeVAWA Twitter Carnival on Wednesday, March 7th at 12pm EST, 11am CST, 10am MST, 9am PST

HUGE thanks to all who all who have been tweeting about VAWA.  Now we need to make #ReauthorizeVAWA a trending topic on twitter. In order to do that we need a lot of people to tweet messages including the hashtag #ReauthorizeVAWA in a SHORT amount of time.

The bigger a splash we can make by sharing this, the better! 
You can help us trend #ReauthorizeVAWA by tweeting this message on Wednesday, January 18th at noon EST.  Here are some sample tweets:

  • We urge all Senators to support the real #VAWA that helps all victims- S. 1925. #ReauthorizeVAWA now! 4vawa.org
  • Bring the real VAWA to the Senate floor for a vote NOW. #ReauthorizeVAWA now! 4vawa.org

If you can’t/won’t be in front of your computers or hand-helds at noon you can still send out the post on twitter at noon by signing up at Hoot Suite  and scheduling your message to post on March 7 at noon (just make sure you’re time settings are for EST).  During the Twitter Carnival, you should also retweet and respond to the twitters of others – always including #ReauthorizeVAWA.

Thanks for the terrific tweets already out there! 

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

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.

 

Ask Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to schedule a vote on VAWA!

BREAKING NEWS: Thanks to Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Mark Udall (D-CO), we now have 56 sponsors for S. 1925!!!  Because we are SURE that we’ll get 60 in the weeks ahead, we now need to ask Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to schedule a Senate floor vote SOON.  We know that we have the votes, and we need to move this bipartisan VAWA before the rancor of election year politics ties up both Houses of Congress!

 

Call Senator Reid’s office with this message:

“We need Senator Reid to continue to be our champion for the whole country.  Please sponsor the Violence Against Women Act and schedule S. 1925 for a floor vote as soon as possible.”

 

If you are not from Nevada 202-224-3542 DC office

If you are from Nevada: 775-686-5750 Reno office

 

Thank you from all victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking who have no voice and need our support!

To see if your Senator has signed on to VAWA, click here, select search by bill number, and type in S. 1925 in the search box.  The Senate has been out of session for a week so any new sponsors may not have been added.

This week is: THANK YOUR MEMBER OF CONGRESS FOR THEIR SUPPORT OF VAWA WEEK

S.1925, the “real” VAWA, has 54 Senate sponsors!!!  We have set March 20th—the first day of spring to reach our goal of 60 filibuster-proof sponsors.  Last week, Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) signed on so we are only 6 senators shy of our goal!

We can do it! 

In the meantime, everyone needs to thank the 54 Senate champions and thank your Representative for speaking out in support of VAWA, for being a champion in the past and/or for being willing to work with Judiciary Chairmen Lamar Smith (R-TX) and John Conyers (D-MI) .

TAKE ACTION TODAY!

Suggested actions for this week include:

  1. Let’s get to 60 co-sponsors of S. 1925!  Both the House and Senate are back in DC this week, so if your Senator is not a VAWA sponsor, call them at their Hill office, ask for the staff person who handles VAWA and offer to help them convince their Senator to sponsor S.1925. 
  2. Use the local media and press to thank your Members who are supportive and to wonder why the others are not on board. 
  3. Ask for meetings or conference calls with your House member to discuss VAWA.  The bill may be introduced in the next 3-4 weeks and we want everyone on board. 

Action 1:  If  your Senator is one of the 46 who are NOT sponsors of VAWA, call their office today  and ask them to co-sponsor S.1925.  Click here for their contact info.   When you call, tell your Senator that only S.1925 represents real, critical, lifesaving protections for ALL victims and all other versions fall short. Check out our new talking points here to find out why S.1925 is the only REAL VAWA. For a list of sponsors, click here and type in the bill S.1925.  Please thank your Senator if he/she is already a co-sponsor.  Don’t panic if the latest sponsors aren’t there – it takes a few days for their names to be posted. 

Suggested Senators who should be a VAWA sponsor: 7 Senators have been VAWA sponsors in the past. Maybe they just need to be reminded and for sure they need to be persuaded.  VAWA programs and services are under-funded and under attack.  It’s time to step up for victims of sexual assault and dating, domestic and stalking violence.  Cochran, Thad  (R - MS), Cornyn, John (R - TX), Grassley, Chuck (R - IA), Hatch, Orrin (R - UT), Hutchison, Kay Bailey (R – TX),  Pryor, Mark (D - AR), Snowe, Olympia (R - ME).

There is one new Senator who OUGHT to be a sponsor of VAWA!  Please contact him today: Udall, Mark (D - CO),  and others who have expressed interest in VAWA and have been supportive of program funding and services in the past. Ask them to step up to this crisis: Alexander, Lamar (R – TN), Ayotte, Kelly - (R - NH), Enzi, Michael (R – WY), Graham, Lindsey (R - SC), Heller, Dean (R – NV), Kyl, Jon - (R - AZ),  Lugar, Richard (R - IN), and Manchin, Joe (D - WV). 

 

Action 2: As part of our thank you effort, make sure your thanks get into the local paper or on the web. Good examples of state and local organizations and coalitions issuing press releases and web spots featuring VAWA’s champions can be seen below:

  • In Texas, the state DV and SA coalitions issued a joint statement:  CHAIRMAN OF THE HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE LAMAR SMITH AND CONGRESSMAN TED POE HIGHLIGHT SUCCESSES OF THE VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ACT IN TEXAS AND SUPPORT VAWA REAUTHORIZATION and highlighted important public statements by their state’s Members: Chairman Smith noted his continuing strong support of VAWA since initial passage in 1994, and he further declared, “It is essential that programs like these are in place to protect victims not just from physical bruises but from the emotional and mental scars as well.  Funding through VAWA has helped women escape abuse and rebuild their lives.” Congressman Poe reflected on his experience as a long time judge in Harris County: “I remember when domestic violence was treated by law enforcement as a family problem, not as social health issue or a crime.  I am glad we have moved away from that concept.  We’re not talking about statistics here, we’re talking about real people that are hurt by others who claim they love these people.”
  • In Delaware,  the state DV coalition joined with a county Police Lieutenant Teresa Williams and VAWA sponsor Senator Chris Coons to promote VAWA. Click here to see the coverage.   

Action 3: Continue thanking and talking to members of the House Judiciary Committee – they are the ones who will vote on VAWA and determine its content. Especially thank Representatives present at the House Judiciary Hearing on Thursday, February 16 and ask them to support REAL VAWA reauthorization! All members present (Chair Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Minority Leader Scott (D-VA), and Reps. Poe (R-TX), Adams (R-FL), Gowdy (R-SC), Chu (D-CA), Johnson (D-GA), and Chaffetz (R-UT)) had something positive to say about VAWA. We were all particularly moved by Rep. Gowdy’s statement. You can view the webcast here (go to 1:05 to listen to Congressman Gowdy’s comments). Listen to your representative’s testimony, thank them for attending the hearing, and urge them to support the REAL VAWA! Whether your Judiciary Committee Rep attended or not, call them today with this message: “Support REAL VAWA reauthorization!” The House needs to hear a loud and clear message from advocates NOW that only the language in S.1925 represents REAL VAWA reauthorization. Anything less fails to meet the needs of ALL victims. Use our talking points on this issue when you make your call.

Set up meetings in your state or ask for a conference call with your Representative or a senior staff person to talk with you and other VAWA supporters. In Joliet, IL, local advocates met with Congresswoman Judy Biggert (R-IL) and heard positive support from her and reported the meeting to the local paper.  Click here to read the story.  

 

To see if your Senator has signed on to VAWA, click here go to  and type in S.1925 in the bill search box.  The Senate has been out of session for a week so any new sponsors may not have been added.

ACT NOW to pass the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization & Protect the lives of Indian Women!!

The Violence Against Women Act has always had as its core mission to protect and serve ALL victims of intimate partner violence and to tear down barriers that stand in the way of victim safety and access to justice.  S.1925 is no different, particularly when it comes to Native women.  S.1925 contains language that would remove some of the systemic barriers that prevent American Indian and Alaska Native victims from bringing their perpetrators to justice.  These tribal improvements included in VAWA are also contained within S. 1763, the Stand Against Violence & Empower Native Women Act (SAVE Native Women Act) and they are essential to the safety of Native women.

TAKE ACTION TODAY!

Action 1: Call your Senator, especially if they are VAWA sponsors or have Indian tribes in their state who they care about.  Ask them to sponsor S.1763, the SAVE Native Women Act!

Violence against Native women has reached epidemic proportions. Native women are 2.5 times more likely than other U.S. women to be battered, raped, or stalked: 34% of Native women will be raped in their lifetimes and 39% will be the victim of domestic violence.   This statistical reality leaves young Native women wondering not “if” they will be raped, but “when.”

The U.S. Department of Justice has found that the current system of justice, in which tribal governments have no authority over non-Indian perpetrators committing these crimes on tribal lands, is “inadequate to stop the pattern of escalating violence against Native women.” Currently, in most cases, the federal government has exclusive responsibility to investigate and prosecute major and minor on-reservation crimes. Despite this obligation, a 2010 GAO report shows that there is no prosecution in 67% of sexual assaults in Indian country.  S. 1763 and Title IX of S. 1925 will address violence at the early stages by giving victims access to justice in the local tribal court—where authorities are closest to the crime and best equipped to handle these prosecutions. 

S. 1763, the SAVE Native Women Act attempts to enhance the safety of Native women by:

1)    giving tribes more local control to investigate and prosecute crimes of domestic violence, dating violence, and violations of protection orders that occur in Indian country regardless of the perpetrator’s race;

2)    clarifying that tribes have full civil authority to issue and enforce orders of protection against all persons on tribal lands; and

3)    increasing support for Tribal Domestic and Sexual Assault Coalitions.

While VAWA (S. 1925) has 54 sponsors, S.1763 has just 13 co-sponsors. Please call your Senators and urge them to co-sponsor S.1763, the SAVE Native Women Act! 

Click here to contact your Senators.  

 

Action 2: Call or write your House representative and tell them you strongly support the tribal amendments, especially those found in S.1925.

S.1925, the VAWA Reauthorization that passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on February 7th has achieved broad, bipartisan support, contains the same key tribal amendments as those contained in the SAVE Native Women Act.  These provisions will greatly improve the safety of Native women while holding perpetrators in Indian country accountable regardless of the perpetrator’s race.  These critical tribal provisions were carefully crafted in consultation and collaboration with tribal leaders and victims’ advocates.  The tribal provisions have been the subject of extensive hearings by the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs.

The House of Representatives will be introducing a companion bill to S.1925 in coming weeks.  Please call your Representatives today and ask them reinforce their support for VAWA and help address violence in Indian country by supporting inclusion of the tribal provisions in the House VAWA as well. Remind them that VAWA is a critical tool for Indian tribes to respond to the epidemic rates of domestic violence and sexual assault on tribal lands.   If they have questions, tell them to contact Katy Jackman at the National Congress of American Indians at kjackman@ncai.org.

 

Action 3: Take time to learn the facts about the tribal provisions of VAWA so that you can educate others on these critical provisions.

Indian issues and the specific set of laws surrounding them are very complex and can be intimidating to the untrained eye.  It is important that you have accurate and up-to-date information about the tribal amendments and their effects so that you can educate others on the significance of these proposals.  Take time to review briefing papers, fact sheets, and news articles about the tribal provisions of VAWA on this website.  The U.S. Department of Justice has studied the crisis of violence against Native women extensively and their specific recommendations for better protecting Native women—which are included in S.1925 and S.1763—are available on the NTF website for your review as well.  These documents are particularly helpful if you want a more in-depth view of the public safety situation on tribal lands and the need for improvements of the kind proposed. 

 

Now is the time for all of us to stand together to end violence against Native women—and all girls and women, boys and men.

 

Spring into Action - Help us Pass VAWA

Thank you Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Mark Udall (D-CO) for joining Senator Tom Carper (D-DE), Senator Nelson (D-FL), Senator Brown (D-OH), Senator Inouye (D-HI), Senator Merkley (D-OR), Senator Warner (D-VA) and 48 other Senators for supporting VAWA.  We are half way to reaching our goal.  We have a majority in the Senate, but we need 4 more Senators by March 20th.  We can do it!

Senators Leahy (D-VT) and Crapo (R-ID) want to bring the Violence Against Women Act (S. 1925) to the Senate floor for a vote before April 1 in order to avoid the fray of budget/appropriations/campaign politics. Right now, VAWA has 56 sponsors, including 5 Republicans. BUT we’ll need 60 votes to avoid a filibuster and secure a floor vote and passage.  See below on who needs to hear from us. Together we can reauthorize VAWA!

There are 8 Senators who have been VAWA sponsors in the past. Maybe they just need to be reminded and for sure they need to be persuaded. VAWA programs and services are under-funded and under attack.  It’s time to step up for victims of sexual assault and dating, domestic and stalking violence. Please reach out to these Senators and their staff today: Ayotte, Kelly (R - NH),  Cochran, Thad  (R - MS), Cornyn, John (R - TX), Grassley, Chuck (R - IA), Hatch, Orrin (R - UT), Hutchison, Kay Bailey (R – TX), Pryor, Mark (D - AR), Snowe, Olympia (R - ME)


There are 9 Senators who have expressed interest in VAWA and have been supportive of program funding and services in the past. Ask them to step up to this crisis. Alexander, Lamar (R – TN),Coburn, Tom (R – OK ), Enzi, Michael (R – WY), Graham, Lindsey (R - SC), Heller, Dean (R – NV), Kyl, Jon - (R - AZ), Lee, Mike (R – UT), Lugar, Richard (R - IN)

Please be sure to thank all the Senators who have signed on to support the Reauthorization of VAWA:  Leahy, Patrick J. (D - VT), Akaka, Daniel K. (D - HI), Baucus, Max  (D - MT), Begich, Mark  (D - AK), Bennet, Michael F. (D - CO), Bingaman, Jeff (D - NM), Blumenthal, Richard (D - CT), Boxer, Barbara (D - CA), Brown, Scott P. (R - MA), Cantwell, Maria (D - WA), Cardin, Benjamin L. (D - MD),  Tom Carper (D - DE), Casey, Robert P., Jr. (D - PA), Collins, Susan M. (R - ME), Conrad, Kent  (D - ND), Coons, Christopher A. (D - DE), Crapo, Mike  (R - ID),Durbin, Richard J.  (D - IL), Feinstein, Dianne (D - CA), Franken, Al (D - MN), Gillibrand, Kirsten E. (D - NY), Hagan, Kay R. (D - NC), Harkin, Tom (D - IA), Johnson, Tim (D - SD), Kerry, John F.  (D - MA), Kirk, Mark  (R - IL), Klobuchar, Amy  (D - MN), Kohl, Herb (D - WI), Landrieu, Mary L. (D - LA), Lautenberg, Frank R. (D - NJ), Levin, Carl  (D - MI), Lieberman, Joseph I. (ID - CT), Manchin, Joe (D - WV) McCaskill, Claire - (D - MO), Menendez, Robert (D - NJ), Mikulski, Barbara A. (D - MD), Murkowski, Lisa (R - AK), Murray, Patty  (D - WA), Nelson, Ben  (D - NE), Nelson, Bill (D - FL), Reed, Jack  (D - RI), Rockefeller, John  - (D - WV), Sanders, Bernard  (I - VT), Schumer, Charles E. (D - NY), Shaheen, Jeanne (D - NH), Stabenow, Debbie (D - MI), Tester, Jon (D - MT),Udall, Tom - (D - NM), Webb, Jim - (D - VA),Whitehouse, Sheldon  (D - RI), Wyden, Ron (D - OR)

 

You can still help even if you don’t live in any of the target states.  Share the 4vawa.org site with your friends and family who live in these target states, and ask them to contact their Senators. Thank you. Together we can Reauthorize VAWA!

CODE RED

HOORAY!!!  We did it!  We met our goal of adding 10 new co-sponsors by Valentine's Day.  Thank you Senator Nelson (D-NE) and Senator Webb (D-VA) for joining, Senator Baucus (D-MT), Senator Bennet (D-CO), Senator Conrad (D-ND), Senator Udall (D-NM), and Senator McCaskill (D-MO) Senator Akaka (D-HI),  Senator Lieberman (D-CT), Senator Tester (D-MT) and the 38 other Senators in supporting the Reauthorization of VAWA!

Now, we just need 10 more by March 1st, and 2 more by the Spring Solstice March 20th. That's 12 more total!  We're on our way! 

 

Senators Leahy (D-VT) and Crapo (R-ID) want to bring the Violence Against Women Act (S. 1925) to the Senate floor for a vote before April 1 in order to avoid the fray of budget/appropriations/campaign politics. Right now, VAWA has 46 sponsors, including 5 Republicans. BUT we’ll need 60 votes to avoid a filibuster and secure a floor vote and passage.  See below on who needs to hear from us. Together we can reauthorize VAWA!

 

There are 10 Senators who have been VAWA sponsors in the past. Maybe they just need to be reminded and for sure they need to be persuaded. VAWA programs and services are under-funded and under attack.  It’s time to step up for victims of sexual assault and dating, domestic and stalking violence. Please reach out to these Senators and their staff today:   Carper, Thomas (D - DE),  Cochran, Thad  (R - MS), Cornyn, John (R - TX), Grassley, Chuck (R - IA), Hatch, Orrin (R - UT), Hutchison, Kay Bailey (R – TX), Inouye, Daniel (D - HI)  , Nelson, Bill (D - FL), Pryor, Mark (D - AR), Snowe, Olympia (R - ME)


There are 4 new Senators who OUGHT to be sponsors of VAWA. Talk to them and their staff and tell them about how VAWA has helped promote awareness and support services and needs them to be champions – and sponsors!  Please contact them today:    Brown, Sherrod (D - OH), Merkley, Jeff (D - OR), Udall, Mark (D - CO) , Warner, Mark (D - VA) 


There are 9 Senators who have expressed interest in VAWA and have been supportive of program funding and services in the past. Ask them to step up to this crisis. Alexander, Lamar (R – TN),Coburn, Tom (R – OK ), Enzi, Michael (R – WY), Graham, Lindsey (R - SC), Heller, Dean (R – NV), Kyl, Jon - (R - AZ), Lee, Mike (R – UT), Lugar, Richard (R - IN), Manchin, Joe (D - WV) 

 

Please be sure to thank all the Senators who have signed on to support the Reauthorization of VAWA:  Leahy, Patrick J. (D - VT), Akaka, Daniel K. (D - HI), Baucus, Max  (D - MT), Begich, Mark  (D - AK), Bennet, Michael F. (D - CO), Bingaman, Jeff (D - NM), Blumenthal, Richard (D - CT), Boxer, Barbara (D - CA), Brown, Scott P. (R - MA), Cantwell, Maria (D - WA), Cardin, Benjamin L. (D - MD), Casey, Robert P., Jr. (D - PA), Collins, Susan M. (R - ME), Conrad, Kent  (D - ND), Coons, Christopher A. (D - DE), Crapo, Mike  (R - ID),Durbin, Richard J.  (D - IL), Feinstein, Dianne (D - CA), Franken, Al (D - MN), Gillibrand, Kirsten E. (D - NY), Hagan, Kay R. (D - NC), Harkin, Tom (D - IA), Johnson, Tim (D - SD), Kerry, John F.  (D - MA), Kirk, Mark  (R - IL), Klobuchar, Amy  (D - MN), Kohl, Herb (D - WI), Landrieu, Mary L. (D - LA), Lautenberg, Frank R. (D - NJ), Levin, Carl  (D - MI), Lieberman, Joseph I. (ID - CT), Menendez, Robert (D - NJ), Mikulski, Barbara A. (D - MD), Murkowski, Lisa (R - AK), Murray, Patty  (D - WA), Reed, Jack  (D - RI), Rockefeller, John  - (D - WV), Sanders, Bernard  (I - VT), Schumer, Charles E. (D - NY), Shaheen, Jeanne (D - NH), Stabenow, Debbie (D - MI), Tester, Jon (D - MT), Whitehouse, Sheldon  (D - RI), Wyden, Ron (D - OR)

 

You can still help even if you don’t live in any of the target states.  Share the 4vawa.org site with your friends and family who live in these target states, and ask them to contact their Senators. Thank you. Together we can Reauthorize VAWA! 

VAWA Update: Senate Judiciary Passes S. 1925

Thanks to all of our valiant VAWA Supporters, S.1925, the Leahy/Crapo bill to Reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, was passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, Feb.2! 

In the past few days, we’ve called upon activists in every state and territory to help send a strong message to the Senate about the importance of this bill and the various provisions in it.  And you did it – key Senate offices were flooded with calls making it clear that ALL of the VAWA bill is important.  You were not willing to abandon any principle or constituency. Thank you!  You really made a difference!

What exactly passed?

As expected, Senator Leahy offered a “Manager’s Amendment” which replaced the original S.1925 and the new version was accepted by unanimous consent.   The new version  included modifications in response to requests from other Senators and from the field.  It retained key provisions such as the pieces addressing tribal jurisdiction, underserved populations, communities of color and immigration and so many more!  The Amendment retained the funding levels that were in the introduced bill (already reduced to 2000 reauthorization levels) and also retained the “no match” requirement for victim service providers.  Your support made all of this possible. 

There were other amendments offered as well.  Two that passed were an amendment increasing penalties for a third offense of drunk driving and a controversial amendment to instate a mandatory minimum of 5 years in prison for aggravated sexual assault.

Not approved was  an amendment offered by Senator Grassley that would replace all of the Leahy/Crapo bill to reauthorize VAWA.  This Amendment would have weakened and undermined VAWA in many ways including a massive reduction in authorized funding to 40% lower than the Leahy/Crapo bill.  It would have eliminated services and protections from violence for communities of color and LGBTQ communities. It would have stripped historic provisions to improve the ability of tribal governments to hold offenders accountable and re-defined youth eliminating those aged 20 to 24—taking away the ability of advocates to serve the population most at risk of dating violence.  The Amendment would have eliminated the engaging men program that helps men and boys become anti-violence advocates and would greatly reduce the ability of middle schools, high schools and colleges to do prevention education with young people.  Perhaps most offensively and antithetical to all the great work that has been accomplished under VAWA, the Amendment would have eliminated the Office on Violence Against Women.  There was a definite hostility to providing services and programs for the broadest possible groups of victims.  Click here to read (the amendment offered by) Senator Grassley's statement.  

While the destructive Grassley Amendment was defeated in committee, it was a party line vote.  All 8 republican senators on the committee (Grassley-IA, Hatch-UT, Kyl-AZ, Sessions-AL, Graham-SC, Cornyn-TX, Lee-UT and Coburn-OK) voted for the destructive Amendment.  Luckily, all 10 committee democrats (Leahy-VT, Kohl-WI, Feinstein-CA, Schumer-NY, Durbin-IL, Whitehouse-RI, Klobuchar-MN, Franken-MN, Coons-DE and Blumenthal-CT) voted against the Amendment.  Please call these Senators and thank them for their support of VAWA!

What now?

Our efforts to move VAWA along must continue.  We are still asking local, state, tribal and national organizations and agencies to sign on to the letter in support of VAWA. While the dramatic size and breadth of the list of supporters is impressive, we want to continue to add to it until no Member of Congress can possibly oppose the VAWA reauthorization.  Reach out to others in your community and encourage their support.  The current version of the letter can be viewed in the VAWA Supporters Section of 4vawa.org. To add your organization or agency to the list of supporters please email us at reauthorizeVAWA@gmail.com.  

We are also continuing to ask Senators to sign on to co-sponsor S.1925.  Your calls are working!  We’ve had a number of Senators sign on in the past 72 hours and are up to 36 at this writing, including 5 Republicans.  Let’s keep up the pressure.