This month, President Obama signed the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act into law, which will provide strong protections for all victims of domestic violence. I’d like to thank Congressman Steny Hoyer for his efforts to ensure this bill was passed and that it protected all victims, including immigrants, Native American women and members of the lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgendered community.
Hoyer was a co-sponsor of the original VAWA in 1994, which helped law enforcement officials stop perpetrators of sexual assault, stalking and partner abuse, and provided resources to victims. Since the passage of the original bill, annual rates of domestic violence have dropped by 64 percent.
However, 1 in 3 American women still experiences violence by a partner, stalking or sexual assault, which is why reauthorization of VAWA was so important. The bipartisan bill that was signed into law will provide our community with the resources needed to eliminate domestic violence, such as additional grant funding to develop innovative programs like Maryland’s Lethality Assessment Program. LAP has helped bring down domestic homicides in Maryland by 40 percent since its implementation and serves as an example to states across the nation.
Please join me in thanking Congressman Hoyer for his leadership on this issue and for serving as an effective advocate for women here in the Fifth District and across the country.