#ActWithMWH to help us protect survivors and prevent domestic violence, sexual violence, and human trafficking.
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Tell Congress to Reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)!
VAWA–first enacted in 1994 and last renewed in 2013–provides protection for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault and requires re-authorization every five years by Congress. VAWA was set to expire in September and was extended through December 7th—then again through December 21st —and now again through February 15th. Long-term re-authorization is critical.
Updates within the proposed legislative updates would would maintain current protections and create additional investments in prevention education, improved healthcare responses, economic protections, addressing the needs of under-served victims and survivors—especially Native women—as well as measures to prohibit the possession of firearms from individuals subject to protection orders and convicted of stalking (House Committee on the Judiciary; NCADV, NNEDV; National Resource Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence, 2018).
Addressing the link between domestic and gun violence is critical.
- Nearly 1 million women have been shot, or shot at by an intimate partner.
- Many more, (around 4.5 million) have been threatened with a gun (Sorenson and Schut, 2016)
- In 85% of cases where an intimate partner attempted to murder their partner, stalking preceded the attack (McFarlane, et al., 1999).
Contact the Department of Justice and inquire about narrowed definitions of Domestic Violence and Sexual Violence posted on their website:
While the statutory definitions of domestic and sexual violence have not changed, the DOJ’s website previously included advocacy-based definitions which took into account physical, emotional, and economic abuse, all of which are used by abusers to gain and maintain power and control over victims/survivors. The definitions now posted are more narrow in that they primarily include only cases of violence which would be considered felony or misdemeanor crimes. This ignore everything those of us in the trenches of this work know about power and control and the cycle of violence. Abuse rarely starts with physical violence but instead typically escalates and progresses along a continuum. Failing to acknowledge broader patterns of power and control along this progression of violence may impact when or whether a survivor reaches out for help and support, which could increase already staggering numbers of intimate partner homicide. In our nearly forty years of supporting survivors of domestic and sexual violence, we understand that many individuals choose, for multiple and extremely valid reasons, not to report to law enforcement. These descriptions discount and disregard these individuals.
Compare the new and previous definitions here:
Click HERE to contact the DOJ.