Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna, Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden and 52 other attorneys general have asked Congress to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, which was first passed in 1994. The act allows programs that protect women and families from abuse to continue.
“Reauthorizing [the act] will send a clear message that this country does not tolerate violence against women,” says the letter, which was signed by virtually ever attorney general in the country, including those representing territories.
According to the letter, the rates of domestic abuse have dropped by 50 percent since the act was first enacted, though domestic abuse remains one of the top issues of the crime fight. Its reauthorization would not only allow programs supporting victims of abuse and violence continue, but also add improvements to the existing act.
Those improvements include:
- Strengthening and reinforcing programs that target preventing and intervention of violence.
- Developing tools for training and communication that will punish offenders and help victims.
- Improving training and qualifications of the people who interact with victims so that they can react to warning signs.
According to the Attorneys General the reauthorization would allow for progress to continue so that more lives could be saved.
The act "was last reauthorized in 2006 and time is of the essence for reauthorization of this important law,” the letter says. “We urge Congress to take on this critical mission and reauthorize VAWA.”