UPDATE: Get the latest on VAWA reauthorization at 4vawa.org.
Originally passed in 1994, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was the first comprehensive federal legislation to address violence against women. It authorizes critical funding for domestic violence and sexual assault programs in every state and is a major source of federal funding for programs that specifically address the needs of youth experiencing dating violence.
VAWA is proven to work — since its passage, the number of individuals killed by an intimate partner has decreased by 34% for women and 57% for men. In addition, VAWA saved $12.6 billion in net averted social costs such as medical care, law enforcement and lost wages in its first 6 years alone.
As VAWA makes strides in reducing violence and saving scarce resources, there is still a lot more it can do.
What VAWA needs now is for all legislators to support it! As a constituent, it is especially important for you to tell your Members of Congress how important VAWA is to victims and service providers in your community. To help you, the National Task Force has put together the reauthorization toolkit that will guide you through mobilizing on the ground!
For more information about the Violence Against Women Act, email ReauthorizeVAWA@gmail.com.
Drafting the Bill
The National Task Force to End Violence Against Women, a diverse coalition of hundreds of national organizations in which Break the Cycle plays a key leadership role, has worked closely with the legislators on the bill and the language clearly represents the voices of survivors, including youth.
In fact, Break the Cycle was hard at work on VAWA reauthorization, convening the Children & Youth and the LGBTQ committees of the Task Force throughout 2010 and 2011. Together, we are leading the effort to increase federal recognition and funding for:
- Dating violence prevention education
- Services for youth in abusive relationships
- Targeted programs for underserved youth populations
We support the reauthorization and improvement of all programs in VAWA. Our priority, however, are those programs which particularly protect youth. Through these programs, Congress can ensure that young people have the resources necessary to mature into healthy and productive citizens. It is time to protect young people from abuse and teach them to build prosperous, healthy, violence-free futures.