Udall Statement on 24th Anniversary of Violence Against Women Act
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) issued the following statement on the 24th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) being signed into law:
“Twenty four years ago, we enacted the Violence Against Women Act and dedicated ourselves to improving the national response to sexual assault and domestic violence perpetrated against women. This landmark legislation committed valuable resources and services to help support survivors, prosecute abusers and prevent future violence. Since then, we’ve affirmed our commitment through reauthorization three times over two decades with bipartisan support each time for enhancing the original law.
“We’ve made great strides in protecting women from violence and abuse. But we know there are loopholes. Native populations are especially at risk for violence against women, in New Mexico and beyond. For too long, we saw too many women hurt and abused – and perpetrators getting away with it. So in 2013, we fought hard to win an amendment giving Tribes jurisdiction over prosecuting domestic violence against Native women by non-Native offenders. But greater steps need to be taken for the intent of VAWA 2013 to be fully realized in Tribal communities. That’s why it is vital that we continue to work to strengthen and modernize VAWA, and further extend its protections to include the most vulnerable communities.
“As we commemorate all that we’ve accomplished through VAWA, let’s also recognize the work that remains unfinished. VAWA is set to expire on September 30 and with it, a whole host of critical intervention and assistance programs that are essential to curbing violence against women. We must act immediately to renew and strengthen VAWA to declare once again, as we did 24 years ago, that survivors deserve the support necessary to stay safe and secure.”
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