The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) has been improving the response to sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking for nearly twenty years. VAWA, which was first passed in 1994 and subsequently reauthorized in 2000 and 2005, is a comprehensive legislative package that has brought together law enforcement, victim advocates, healthcare professionals, social service providers, and others to share information and use their distinct roles to improve community responses to violence against women. Learn more about VAWA here.
In Connecticut, VAWA funds, including the Sexual Assault Services Program, STOP Grant, and the Rape Prevention and Education Program, support:
- Bilingual, bi-cultural advocates who serve the Spanish-speaking community
- Specialized sexual assault victim advocates who work with parole units to support victims when their offenders are released back into the community
- CONNSACS staff who provide information, training, and technical assistance to SACS programs throughout the state
- Outreach and services to unserved and underserved populations
- Grants to combat sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking on college campuses
- Primary Prevention community education
Advocates with U.S. Congressman Himes in Norwalk
While VAWA has always received strong bipartisan support in the past, it
has been the subject of controversy and debate throughout the current reauthorization process. In late April, the Senate passed a version of VAWA – S 1925 – that includes strong protections for LGBT survivors, immigrant victims, and Native women. The House, however, passed a version of VAWA that includes none of the Senate protections and takes away some of the provisions that have been keeping victims safe since 1994. Advocates throughout the country have been reaching out to their Senators and Congressmen to ask the to support the Senate version of VAWA and reject the regressive, incomplete version of VAWA that is currently in the House.
Advocates talking to U.S. Congresswoman
The Connecticut Congressional delegation has publicly championed the real VAWA. Both U.S. Senators, Blumenthal and Lieberman, were co-sponsors of the Senate version of VAWA, and all five of the Connecticut House Representatives voted “no” on the House version of VAWA that fell short of meeting the needs of victims and survivors. In addition, four House members – Congressman Murphy, Congressman Himes, Congressman Courtney, and Congresswoman DeLauro – recently held press conferences on VAWA in Connecticut. Advocates from several SACS programs were able to attend these press events, speak to the Congressmen, and serve as a reminder that the Violence Against Women Act is critical to sexual assault survivors in Connecticut. CONNSACS worked closely with Congressman Himes’ office to set up a May 21 press conference in Norwalk, and CONNSACS Executive Director Laura Cordes spoke at the event along side of the Congressman and Mayor Richard Moccia of Norwalk.
Click here to learn more about the VAWA Reauthorization and what you can do to advocate for a version of the bill that benefits all survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking.
Select Media Coverage of the VAWA Reauthorization
- Violence Against Women Press Conference (News 12)
- Himes, Moccia and Others Call for Congress to Reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (The Hour)
- Himes Says House Bill Doesn’t Go Far Enough (WSHU)
- CT Delegation Poo-Poos Partisanship Over VAWA (CT News Junkie)
- Why VAWA Must Include LGBT Survivors (Huffington Post)