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January 3, 2013

Urges Lawmakers to Prioritize VAWA Early in 113th Congress

NNEDV is deeply disappointed over the failure of the 112th Congress to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Along with our nationwide network of service providers, advocates and national allies, we have worked diligently with Members of Congress to negotiate a strong, bipartisan VAWA that safely and effectively protects all victims.

"Victims were depending on Congress to pass VAWA," said Kim Gandy, President of NNEDV. "After two years, it is heartbreaking to tell them that Congress failed to pass a bill before its term ended."

While the Senate passed a strong, bipartisan bill that would provide avenues to safety for all victims, the House of Representatives was unable to pass a bill with comparable provisions. In the last few weeks, Members of both parties and in both chambers have been actively engaged in substantive negotiations. Unfortunately, the earnest discussions came too late.

"The 11th hour negotiations were too little, too late. We urge the new Congress to prioritize reauthorization of this vital legislation in the first weeks of 2013," said Gandy.

VAWA is the cornerstone of our nation's response to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking, and because of VAWA, millions of victims have received lifesaving services and support. Despite VAWA's proven ability to substantially improve lives, it has not reached all victims. VAWA reauthorization provides an opportunity to build upon the successes of the current law by including key improvements. Among these necessary improvements are expanded protections, safety and access to justice for Native American, immigrant and LGBT victims, as well as victims on college campuses and in communities of color. Additionally, a reauthorized VAWA must include strengthened housing protections that provide emergency housing transfer options for survivors, as well as implementation of transparent and effective accountability measures that support and strengthen, rather than eliminate, those programs that assist victims.

NNEDV, its member coalitions and programs, its national partners, and all those dedicated to ensuring lifesaving and effective services for all victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking will return in the 113th Congress energized and ready to advocate for VAWA's reauthorization. "We stand firm in our commitment to see the passage of a strong, bipartisan bill that safely and effectively meets the needs of all victims, and we will not stop until all victims have access to the services they so desperately need and deserve," concluded Gandy.