New Mexico Attorney General Gary King has joined with 52 state and territorial Attorneys General calling on the United States Congress to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) for the first time since 2006, ensuring vital programs continue uninterrupted to protect women and families from violence and abuse.
The Attorneys General letter to Congress says while the response nationally to domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking has been transformed since the initial 1994 VAWA passage, issues addressed by VAWA are still at the forefront of the crime fight in our country.
Although the rate of domestic violence has dropped 50% during the last 17 years, statistics show three women are killed each day by abusive husbands and partners, and for each victim that loses her life, another nine women narrowly escape their own death.
Reauthorizing VAWA would maintain services for victims and families at the local, state, and federal level as well as provide for the development of new initiatives aimed at key intervention areas which include:
- Addressing the high rates of domestic violence, dating violence and sexual assault among women aged 16-24. Programs will work to combat tolerant youth attitudes toward violence and break the cycle in which women who experience abuse as teens are more likely to be victimized again as adults.
- Improving the response to sexual assault across disciplines by implementing best practices, training, and communication tools among the healthcare, law enforcement, and legal services a victim encounters after an assault.
- Preventing domestic violence homicides by enhancing training for law enforcement, advocates, and others who interact with those at risk. A growing number of experts and researchers agree that these homicides are predictable – and therefore preventable – if we know the warning signs.