Heck Supports Passage of Violence Against Women Act

Feb 28, 2013 Issues: Health

Bill provides funding for programs, organizations that support domestic abuse, sexual assault victims

WASHINGTON - Congressman Joe Heck (NV-03) today released the following statement after supporting House passage of S. 47, the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization (VAWA).

“As a co-sponsor of this reauthorization last Congress, I was proud to cast a vote in support of this important bipartisan bill that provides crucial funding for programs, organizations, and law enforcement agencies in southern Nevada that assist women who are victims of domestic abuse,” Rep. Heck said. "This bill increases resources for criminal investigations, strengthens penalties against abusers to better protect victims, and funds programs that protect victims from both the physical and mental scars of domestic abuse, sexual assault, and rape."

Rep. Heck continued, "As an emergency room physician, I have cared for far too many victims of these horrific crimes and seen firsthand the damaging effects domestic violence and sexual assault have on the victims and their loved ones. Sadly, Nevada has ranked among the national leaders in domestic violence. This reauthorization will supply the tools and resources to protect women from becoming victims and provide the critical assistance necessary for those who have been victimized to best help the recovery and rehabilitation process.”

Background:

•           In 1994, the Violence Against Women Act was originally signed into law.

•           At the time that VAWA was first enacted, a woman was raped every six seconds in the United States and a female was beaten every 15 seconds. Since its enactment, cases of domestic violence have fallen by sixty-seven percent.

•           VAWA dedicates grant funding for shelters such as SAFE House in Henderson.

•           In Fiscal Year 2012, Nevada received $1,589,149 in grant funding for victims services, law enforcement, prosecutors, and courts.

•           More than one million women have used the justice system to obtain protective orders against their batterers.

•           VAWA has averted more than $14 billion dollars in societal costs as interventions have lowered domestic violence frequency and sexual assault rates.

 

S. 47 does the following:

•           Reauthorizes VAWA formula and discretionary grants for five years; consolidates certain grants to streamline grant administration and save taxpayer money.

•           Guarantees funding to states for rape prevention education.

•           Mandates coordination among grantees and the federal agencies to guarantee that money is spent efficiently and effectively.

•           Increases emphasis on the investigation, prosecution, and services for victims of sexual assault.

•           Expands housing protections to sexual assault victims and broadens services to victims’ families.

•           Provides services for young victims, including personnel training, counseling, mentoring, and legal assistance.

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