The Violence Against Women Act, or VAWA, has played a crucial role in the lives of women and families since its original passage in 1994. We have seen both a sharp increase in the reporting of domestic violence, and significant decrease in the number of people harmed by an intimate partner. Additionally, an increase in legal services has helped women who are victims of domestic violence, and VAWA has resulted in billions of dollars in savings from services and police responses that have been avoided.
Now, the Violence Against Women Act is up for reauthorization, having expired at the end of 2011. Considering the advances achieved in the 18 years of VAWA’s existence, any potential threat of its elimination could lead to dramatic setbacks in the safety of women across the country. This bill may cost $15.50 per woman, but it saves $159 per woman, so economic considerations should not derail reauthorization even during these austere times.
Congress must do the right thing and vote to reauthorize and adequately find the Violence Against Women Act.