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March 16, 2009

Beginning of 2009 Bodes Well for Domestic Violence Movement

Washington, D.C. - The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) celebrated a major victory when President Barack Obama signed into law the 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Bill. The funding package increases support for key programs that help to prevent domestic violence and support victims.

"We commend President Obama, Vice President Biden, and the 111th Congress for their steadfast support for programs that help some of America's most vulnerable citizens," said Sue Else, NNEDV president. "We are grateful to have bipartisan partners in the administration and on Capitol Hill who will stand with us in the fight to end domestic violence."

The bill includes nearly $70 million in increases for effective programs related to domestic violence, a tremendous accomplishment to help end against domestic violence. The bill includes more than $15 million in increases for the Violence Against Women Act, a $45 million increase for the Victims of Crime Act, and a $5.1 million increase for the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act. Following last year's cuts, the bill restores funding levels to those of previous years.

Today's action represents yet another victory for victims of domestic violence in recent weeks. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provides a much-needed $325 million investment to promote job growth and economic development in and around desperately-needed domestic violence services. The investments are especially important during this economic downturn, as domestic violence services are in greater demand in harsh financial circumstances.

"Even during difficult economic times, the new administration and a majority of lawmakers know how important it is to invest in domestic violence services, support law enforcement personnel, and stand up for victims of domestic abuse," Else said.

The Appropriations Subcommittees on Commerce, Justice, Science and Labor, Health, and Human Services once again heard the vital needs of domestic violence survivors and acted in their best interests.

On the heels of these victories, NNEDV is continuing to push for the reauthorization of the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA), the vital lifeblood for domestic violence shelters, crisis hotlines, and other services. The act expired last year and, despite the recent funding increases, it remains significantly under-funded. NNEDV and its allies are urging lawmakers to reauthorize and fully fund FVPSA this year.

"We are off to an amazing start, and we cannot allow ourselves to slow down now," Else said. "Let us build on the momentum of these early victories and urge Congress to reauthorize and fully fund the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act. The future of life-saving domestic violence programs depends on it."