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Advocates from Over 40 States Descend on Capitol Hill to Call for Funding and Legislation to Address Domestic Violence

June 2, 2015

National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) hosts Advocacy Days Conference during its 25th anniversary celebration

This week, NNEDV is hosting its annual Advocacy Days Conference to advocate for improved legislation and increased funding to prevent and end domestic violence. NNEDV is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, reflecting on the progress that has been made for survivors as well as the barriers that still exist.

Coalition leaders and victim advocates from most U.S. states and territories are in Washington, DC to meet with lawmakers and promote key legislative priorities. The Advocacy Day Conference is a chance for leaders from each state to meet with their Members of Congress to discuss vital funding and legislative concerns in order to better respond to domestic violence. These include desperately needed funding for victim service programs under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA), and the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA).

“Our theme this year, ‘Be a Voice,’ encapsulates NNEDV’s mission,” said Kim Gandy, President and CEO of NNEDV. “These passionate and committed advocates and survivors will be voices for peace and safety and against violence, degradation and abuse.”

The 2015 Advocacy Days Conference includes a Congressional reception hosted by Google in their Washington, DC office. Senators and Representatives who have been champions for survivors and their advocates will be recognized for their leadership. Advocacy Days would not have been possible without the support of our presenting sponsors: Google, Facebook, and Verizon.

“Be a Voice” encapsulates NNEDV’s mission. These passionate and committed advocates and survivors will be voices for peace and safety and against violence, degradation and abuse.

“These champions in Congress are our partners in the work to address and end domestic violence, said Gandy. “We are grateful for their above-and-beyond leadership and their commitment to survivors.”

Participating advocates will share their experiences with their Members of Congress, and will urge Congress to fully fund domestic violence programs and pass legislation to protect all victims of domestic violence.

Funding: Though the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA), and the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) have been very successful, increased funding is needed to reach more victims. In 2014, in just one 24-hour period there were over 10,800 unmet requests for services. VAWA and FVPSA must be fully funded and VOCA must release more funds in order to reduce the unacceptably high number of unmet requests and to protect victims of domestic violence.

Reducing Homicides: Advocates are calling on Congress to pass firearms legislation that will reduce domestic violence homicides. Supportive legislation would include prohibiting those convicted of dating violence and stalking from possessing a gun, and would require removal of a firearm at the time that a temporary protection order is granted. Additionally Congress should incentivize states to improve their entry of domestic violence information into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) so that convicted abusers will have a harder time purchasing weapons.

“NNEDV and our national network of advocates have seen remarkable progress in the effort to end violence against women through improved federal legislation like the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) and the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVSPA),” said Gandy. “Still in this country an average of three women are killed each day by their current or former partners, and on an average day over 10,000 requests for services went unmet. We will continue to urge Congress to join us in helping victims by supporting improvements in legislation and increased funding for services.”