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house Bill H.R. 6797

Should the Violence Against Women Act Be Reauthorized?

Argument in favor

The Violence Against Women Act is a landmark piece of legislation that’s done immeasurable good for women by improving their safety and providing vital funding for combating domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and other forms of violence against women and minority groups, such as those who identify as LGBTQ.

OWorthyFool's Opinion
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12/27/2018
Women and queer people face increasing violence as this political atmosphere continues to fester. We must do all we can to protect and empower them.
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burrkitty's Opinion
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12/27/2018
The biggest danger to men is heart disease, and the biggest danger to women is men. MURDER In 2005, 1,181 women were murdered by an intimate partner.1 That’s an average of three women every day. Of all the women murdered in the U.S., about one-third were killed by an intimate partner.2 DOMESTIC VIOLENCE (Intimate Partner Violence or Battering) Domestic violence can be defined as a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner.3 According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, women experience about 4.8 million intimate partner-related physical assaults and rapes every year.4 Less than 20 percent of battered women sought medical treatment following an injury.5 SEXUAL VIOLENCE According to the National Crime Victimization Survey, which includes crimes that were not reported to the police, 232,960 women in the U.S. were raped or sexually assaulted in 2006. That’s more than 600 women every day.6 Other estimates, such as those generated by the FBI, are much lower because they rely on data from law enforcement agencies. A significant number of crimes are never even reported for reasons that include the victim’s feeling that nothing can/will be done and the personal nature of the incident.7 THE TARGETS Young women, low-income women and some minorities are disproportionately victims of domestic violence and rape. Women ages 20-24 are at greatest risk of nonfatal domestic violence8, and women age 24 and under suffer from the highest rates of rape.9 The Justice Department estimates that one in five women will experience rape or attempted rape during their college years, and that less than five percent of these rapes will be reported.10 Income is also a factor: the poorer the household, the higher the rate of domestic violence — with women in the lowest income category experiencing more than six times the rate of nonfatal intimate partner violence as compared to women in the highest income category.11 When we consider race, we see that African-American women face higher rates of domestic violence than white women, and American-Indian women are victimized at a rate more than double that of women of other races.12 IMPACT ON CHILDREN According to the Family Violence Prevention Fund, “growing up in a violent home may be a terrifying and traumatic experience that can affect every aspect of a child’s life, growth and development. . . . children who have been exposed to family violence suffer symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, such as bed-wetting or nightmares, and were at greater risk than their peers of having allergies, asthma, gastrointestinal problems, headaches and flu.” In addition, women who experience physcial abuse as children are at a greater risk of victimization as adults, and men have a far greater (more than double) likelihood of perpetrating abuse. 13 IMPACT ON HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES The Centers for Disease Control estimates that the cost of domestic violence in 2003 was more than over $8.3 billion. This cost includes medical care, mental health services, and lost productivity. 14. RESOURCES 1Bureau of Justice Statistics, Intimate Homicide Victims by Gender 2Bureau of Justice Statistics, There has been a decline in homicide of intimates, especially male victims 3Deptartment of Justice, About Domestic Violence 4Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Understanding Intimate Partner Violence (PDF) 5National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), Domestic Violence Facts (PDF) 6Bureau of Justice Statistics (table 2, page 15), Criminal Victimization in the United States, 2006 Statistical Tables 7US Census Bureau (page 12), National Crime Victimization Survey (PDF) 8Bureau of Justice Statistics, Victim Characteristics: Age 9Bureau of Justice Statistics (table 4, page 17) Criminal Victimization in the United States, 2006 Statistical Tables (PDF) 10National Institute of Justice (pages 6-7), Sexual Assault on Campus: What Colleges and Universities Are Doing About It (PDF) 11Bureau of Justice Statistics, Intimate Partner Violence in the U.S.: Victims 12Bureau of Justice Statistics, Victim Characteristics: Race 13Family Violence Prevention Fund, The Facts on Children and Domestic Violence 14CDC, Understanding Intimate Partner Violence (PDF)
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David 's Opinion
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12/27/2018
More than just reauthorization is needed. This bill needs to be improved and expanded to bring it up to date.
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Argument opposed

The Violence Against Women Act reauthorization shouldn’t simply extend funding for its programs — meaningful improvements to the Violence Against Women Act to strengthen its provisions and improve its ability to protect women. Congress should pass a different reauthorization bill, which modernizes the law to account for more crimes.

Cosmo 's Opinion
···
12/27/2018
Should also have a Violence Against Male Act too. Men and Women have changed considerably since the 1940’s - 1970’s. The new life Order provides for either sex to be dominant in a relationship. Liberation of the sexes now requires both sexes to be viewed through unbiased lenses. I think the days of looking at a woman and think she’s like you mother, is over. Now both sexes are equal and equally capable of similar sexual advances.
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KyleCorley's Opinion
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12/27/2018
Though the act helps protect women and LGBTQ individuals from stalking domestic violence, sexual assault, and other forms of violence; what about having an act that helps protect males. If we want everyone to be treated fairly we must actually treat everyone the same male and/or female.
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PhilAlban's Opinion
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12/27/2018
Agree with the position of not just rubber-stamping the existing act. Improvement and new knowledge should quickly be implemented and a new, better, possibly more far reaching act should be authorized.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Natural Resources
      Committee on Energy and Commerce
      Committee on the Judiciary
      Committee on Financial Services
    IntroducedSeptember 13th, 2018

What is House Bill H.R. 6797?

This bill would reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which funds a broad range of programs, largely at the Depts. of Justice (DOJ) and Health and Human Services (HHS), addressing sexual assault and sexual violence, through 2019. (The program's authorization lapsed on December 8, 2018.)

Some of VAWA’s noteworthy programs include:

  • Training programs for law enforcement officers to improve their understanding of sexual assault as a crime, their ability to interview victims, and the quality of police investigations;

  • Training programs for district attorneys to help improve their ability to prosecute rape;

  • Training for judges to improve the environment for victims when cases go to trial;

  • Programs encouraging the reporting of sexual assault to police;

  • Funding for victim services and prevention programs at local sexual assault service providers;

  • Funding for sexual assault prevention programs on college campuses;

  • Funding for victim services in underserved areas; and

  • Efforts to eliminate the backlog of untested DNA evidence from unsolved rape cases in accordance with the Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Reporting (SAFER) Act.

Impact

Women; sexual assault survivors; sexual assault prevention programs; sexual assault survivor programs; sexual assault victim services; DNA backlogs; law enforcement officers; district attorneys; judges; colleges; LGBTQ community; DOJ; HHS; and VAWA.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 6797

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthRep. Ted Poe (R-TX) introduced this bill to reauthorize VAWA at full funding through 2019:

“Standing up for victims is not a partisan issue. We cannot allow the people that are being helped under the programs created and funded by VAWA now become victims of our own government.  It is imperative that we reauthorize full funding to VAWA to ensure that victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and dating violence continue to have access to the lifesaving programs and resources they deserve.”

In September 2018, 45 House Republicans, led by Rep. John Katko (R-NY), wrote to House Speaker. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) urging a bipartisan reauthorization of VAWA:

“Since being signed into law in 1994, VAWA has helped to protect and support millions of Americans who have faced domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. This landmark legislation has drastically improved our nation’s response to these crimes and has contributed to the overall declining rates of domestic abuse since its enactment… Programs authorized and funded under VAWA work to protect girls, boys, men, and women from these terrible crimes. The programs provide funding to ensure safety and support for survivors, increase prevention efforts, expand educational awareness surrounding domestic violence and sexual assault, implement training for health professionals and law enforcement, and to coordinate responses across agencies. We have all seen the positive impact of these programs in our districts and have met individuals in our communities who have benefited from the protections this law provides. This is not a partisan issue. VAWA has been continually reauthorized on a bipartisan basis in Congress.”

The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) supports VAWA reauthorization, as it’s the only piece of federal legislation that includes explicit civil rights protections for LGBTQ communities:

“The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) remains the only piece of federal legislation that includes explicit civil rights protections for LGBTQ communities. These protections have altered the landscape for LGBTQ survivors, particularly for those living on the margins- not only in setting the floor for civil rights protections in future legislation, but also in opening doors for many more survivors to access care and support during a critical moment in their lives… As a result of a fully inclusive VAWA being re-authorized, more survivors will have access to necessary life-saving services reflecting our country’s deep commitment to address the needs of all domestic violence, dating violence, sexual violence, and stalking survivors.”

Jolie Moran, the outreach and advocacy program coordinator at Vera House, nonprofit dedicated to ending domestic violence in Syracuse, New York, and a rape survivor herself, says she’s observed VAWA’s importance firsthand. Moran says, “For many, VAWA is the difference between life and death. Protecting people from violence should be a priority and a bipartisan issue.”

Although it supports VAWA reauthorization, NCADV wants Congress to do more than simply reauthorize VAWA funding. It’d like to see Congress pass a bipartisan VAWA reauthorization that invests in increased evidence-based prevention, enhances survivors’ access to safety and justice, and maintains critical protections for vulnerable communities.

In an op-ed in The Hill, Nancy K. Kaufman, CEO of the National Council of Jewish Woman, argues for VAWA reauthorization as soon as possible:

“For so many of our elected officials, building a border wall is a bigger priority than protecting the one in four women who experience severe intimate partner violence. The solution is also clear (even if it doesn’t go far enough), reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which has already led to a 72 percent decline in partner violence by providing critical social services to survivors of abuse… VAWA will expire altogether if it is not reauthorized for extended periods, as it has been in the past… The landmark legislation is a primary source of federal funds for rape crisis centers, shelters, and legal assistance programs that serve those affected by sexual violence. It has been improved over the years, with provisions added to address sexual violence on campus, LGBTQ individuals, native women, and additional U-visas immigrant women escaping sexual assault. Until its most recent expiration, it had always been renewed with bipartisan support.”

Another House VAWA reauthorization bill, sponsored by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), has been referred to the Committees on the Judiciary, Energy and Commerce, Financial Services, Ways and Means, Natural Resources, and Education and the Workforce with the support of 181 cosponsors, all of whom are Democrats. Rep. Lee’s bill would reauthorize VAWA for another five years.

  • Rep. Jackson Lee’s bill has a few provisions that are potentially harmful to its odds of passage: It dramatically expands the definition of domestic violence from “felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence” in the current VAWA legislation to: “The term ‘domestic violence’ means a pattern of behavior involving the use or attempted use of physical, sexual, verbal, emotional, economic, or technological abuse or any other coercive behavior committed, enabled, or solicited to gain or maintain power and control over a victim.” Technological abuse is defined as “behavior intended to harm, threaten, intimidate, control, stalk, harass, impersonate, or monitor another person, except as otherwise permitted by law, that occurs via the Internet, social networking sites, computers, mobile devices, cellular telephones, apps, location tracking devices, instant messages, text messages, or other forms of technology, including “unwanted, repeated telephone calls, text messages, instant messages, or social media posts.” Some critics argue that this definition is so broad that marital disagreements, lover’s quarrels, and obnoxious social behavior could easily qualify as crimes.
  • Second, Rep. Jackson Lee’s bill also gives law enforcement more scope to remove firearms from domestic abusers. Since the definition of abuse in Rep. Jackson Lee’s bill includes traditionally non-violent behavior, such as making repeated phone calls, the gun provision may deprive individuals of their Second Amendment rights when they aren’t posing a physical threat.
  • Finally, Rep. Jackson Lee’s VAWA bill revives the issue of Native American courts, which tripped up the 2013 VAWA reauthorization. It directs the Attorney General and Interior Secretary to “work with tribes to evaluate laws and policies on missing and murdered native women and report to Congress with recommendations.” This would require giving tribes better access to federal databases. Controversially, this provision also seems to ignore the abuse of native men, although that’s documented as well.

Of NoteVAWA was enacted in 1994, and has been renewed and expanded three times since then. This landmark legislation was enacted to help fund social service agencies that support victims of sexual assault and domestic violence against the backdrop of the Year of the Woman, when a record number of women ran for and won congressional seats in the 1992 election.

Today, VAWA helps victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking to access needed services. This including funding for rape crisis centers, shelters, and legal-assistance programs as well as supporting reporting mechanisms for sexual violence on college campuses and extending protections for the LGBT community. Most VAWA programs are administered by the DOJ and HHS.

At the start, VAWA enjoyed bipartisan support. Then-Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) first drafted the bill in 1990, and it received widespread support from Congress before President Bill Clinton signed it into law. The first two reauthorizations, in 2000 and 2005, both saw broad bipartisan support. However, when VAWA was last reauthorized in 2013, leading members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, as well as Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), John Cornyn (R-TX), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and Mike Lee (R-UT) voted against it.

This year, VAWA was set to expire on September 30, 2018, but was extended through December 7, 2018 with the stopgap spending bill and extended again until December 21, 2018 in a second short-term bill. With the partial government shutdown beginning just after midnight on Friday, December 21, 2018, VAWA has now lapsed for the second time since its enactment.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / grandriver)

AKA

Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2018

Official Title

To reauthorize Department of Justice programs that combat violence against women, and for other purposes.

    Women and queer people face increasing violence as this political atmosphere continues to fester. We must do all we can to protect and empower them.
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    Should also have a Violence Against Male Act too. Men and Women have changed considerably since the 1940’s - 1970’s. The new life Order provides for either sex to be dominant in a relationship. Liberation of the sexes now requires both sexes to be viewed through unbiased lenses. I think the days of looking at a woman and think she’s like you mother, is over. Now both sexes are equal and equally capable of similar sexual advances.
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    I am think it should be Permanent!
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    The biggest danger to men is heart disease, and the biggest danger to women is men. MURDER In 2005, 1,181 women were murdered by an intimate partner.1 That’s an average of three women every day. Of all the women murdered in the U.S., about one-third were killed by an intimate partner.2 DOMESTIC VIOLENCE (Intimate Partner Violence or Battering) Domestic violence can be defined as a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner.3 According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, women experience about 4.8 million intimate partner-related physical assaults and rapes every year.4 Less than 20 percent of battered women sought medical treatment following an injury.5 SEXUAL VIOLENCE According to the National Crime Victimization Survey, which includes crimes that were not reported to the police, 232,960 women in the U.S. were raped or sexually assaulted in 2006. That’s more than 600 women every day.6 Other estimates, such as those generated by the FBI, are much lower because they rely on data from law enforcement agencies. A significant number of crimes are never even reported for reasons that include the victim’s feeling that nothing can/will be done and the personal nature of the incident.7 THE TARGETS Young women, low-income women and some minorities are disproportionately victims of domestic violence and rape. Women ages 20-24 are at greatest risk of nonfatal domestic violence8, and women age 24 and under suffer from the highest rates of rape.9 The Justice Department estimates that one in five women will experience rape or attempted rape during their college years, and that less than five percent of these rapes will be reported.10 Income is also a factor: the poorer the household, the higher the rate of domestic violence — with women in the lowest income category experiencing more than six times the rate of nonfatal intimate partner violence as compared to women in the highest income category.11 When we consider race, we see that African-American women face higher rates of domestic violence than white women, and American-Indian women are victimized at a rate more than double that of women of other races.12 IMPACT ON CHILDREN According to the Family Violence Prevention Fund, “growing up in a violent home may be a terrifying and traumatic experience that can affect every aspect of a child’s life, growth and development. . . . children who have been exposed to family violence suffer symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, such as bed-wetting or nightmares, and were at greater risk than their peers of having allergies, asthma, gastrointestinal problems, headaches and flu.” In addition, women who experience physcial abuse as children are at a greater risk of victimization as adults, and men have a far greater (more than double) likelihood of perpetrating abuse. 13 IMPACT ON HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES The Centers for Disease Control estimates that the cost of domestic violence in 2003 was more than over $8.3 billion. This cost includes medical care, mental health services, and lost productivity. 14. RESOURCES 1Bureau of Justice Statistics, Intimate Homicide Victims by Gender 2Bureau of Justice Statistics, There has been a decline in homicide of intimates, especially male victims 3Deptartment of Justice, About Domestic Violence 4Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Understanding Intimate Partner Violence (PDF) 5National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), Domestic Violence Facts (PDF) 6Bureau of Justice Statistics (table 2, page 15), Criminal Victimization in the United States, 2006 Statistical Tables 7US Census Bureau (page 12), National Crime Victimization Survey (PDF) 8Bureau of Justice Statistics, Victim Characteristics: Age 9Bureau of Justice Statistics (table 4, page 17) Criminal Victimization in the United States, 2006 Statistical Tables (PDF) 10National Institute of Justice (pages 6-7), Sexual Assault on Campus: What Colleges and Universities Are Doing About It (PDF) 11Bureau of Justice Statistics, Intimate Partner Violence in the U.S.: Victims 12Bureau of Justice Statistics, Victim Characteristics: Race 13Family Violence Prevention Fund, The Facts on Children and Domestic Violence 14CDC, Understanding Intimate Partner Violence (PDF)
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    Of course it should. Immediately!
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    More than just reauthorization is needed. This bill needs to be improved and expanded to bring it up to date.
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    Something as critical as this should NEVER be contingent upon a government shutdown
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    Make it permanent.
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    Though the act helps protect women and LGBTQ individuals from stalking domestic violence, sexual assault, and other forms of violence; what about having an act that helps protect males. If we want everyone to be treated fairly we must actually treat everyone the same male and/or female.
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    It is astounding to me in this day and age that we have not made violence against women a permenant law. Violence against women is on the rise world wide. Shame on every woman who does not stand in stopping this atrocity. We are the majority in this country and the world and we still have “sisters” that are complicit in this violence. Make violence against women a permanent crime with the harshest penalties.
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    Agree with the position of not just rubber-stamping the existing act. Improvement and new knowledge should quickly be implemented and a new, better, possibly more far reaching act should be authorized.
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    WHY IS THIS EVEN A QUESTION?? Why don’t you just enact a law that violence against men (think castration) is fine. GOD - what is WRONG with you people? Do you even THINK about what this means? You have blood on your hands.
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    The world is not flat, yet when I look at this Congress and the bill to help with providing Women a stronger concern for their rights and safety. I only get Fiery because everyone that has a vote on the reauthorization of this bill, has a mother. How dumb are our legislators who voted for a permanent tax brake for the wealthy and then not pass this bill is to be voted out of office. When the treatment for women are at steak, I get Fierce-because We all have a mother and who would want their mother to be mistreated or not protected from a weak man. That weakness that a man displays by being violent over a precious woman needs jail time. I for one as we approach the end of this year and usher in a New Year, I say the messenger has been working for you. Catch me.
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    H.R. 6797 AKA the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) I’m all for House bill H.R. would reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which funds a broad range of programs, largely at the Depts. of Justice (DOJ) and Health and Human Services (HHS), addressing sexual assault and sexual violence, through 2019. (The program's authorization lapsed on December 8, 2018.) The Violence Against Women Act is a landmark piece of legislation that’s done immeasurable good for women by improving their safety and providing vital funding for combating domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and other forms of violence against women and minority groups, such as those who identify as LGBTQ. SneakyPete.... 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻. 12*27*18.....
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    Only heartless misogynists would want victims of violence to lose access to resources & protections.
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    I mean, unless you hate women I can't see any reason why you wouldn't want this.
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    It's sad, but women in order to be protected must have a law past by Congress
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    Really did y'all really have to ask that question it should always be automatically how can we provide more Safety for our Women and Etc ..
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    It should be a LAW FOREVER AND IT DAMNED WELL BETTER BE! EVEN YOU ASSHOLES IN CONGRESS HAD TO HAVE MOTHERS. WHY ANYONE WOULD WANT TO BE YOUR WIFE OR GIVE BIRTH TO sons or DAUGHTERS IS BEYOND ME. JUST DO THE RIGHT THING FOR A CHANGE!
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    Duh it should be the law forevermore.
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