Council Seeks Renewal Of Fed Domestic Violence Bill
Offers Resources To Protect Battered Women
The City Council’s Women’s Issues Committee held a public hearing last Monday, Feb. 27, on a resolution co-sponsored by Council Member Daniel Dromm and Committee Chair Julissa Ferreras, calling on Congress to renew the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
As described, VAWA is a piece of federal legislation that has redefined the way domestic violence and other forms of violence against women are handled. It provides vital resources and support to domestic violence and sexual assault service providers here in New York and in communities around the nation.
The current VAWA expired last year, and Resolution 1064 would add the City Council’s voice to the calls coming from around the country for its speedy reauthorization. The bill currently before the Senate would make significant improvements such as explicitly stating that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) survivors of violence are eligible for services, additional protections for immigrant survivors, provisions addressing elder abuse and violence against Native and Alaskan Native women.
“Failing to reauthorize VAWA would result in a significant loss of funding to the nonprofits, law enforcement, district attorneys, and government agencies that rely on the act to support their anti-violence work,” said Ferreras. “We cannot allow politics to turn back the clock on the advances we made under VAWA. I call upon Congress to reauthorize this important legislation to continue saving lives, assisting victims in need, and aiding law enforcement towards eradicating acts of violence against women.”
The committee took testimony in support of VAWA from a variety of law enforcement and advocacy groups, including Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan and Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes, Legal Momentum, Sanctuary for Families, Safe Horizon, CONNECT, NYC Alliance Against Sexual Assault, NYC Anti-Violence Project, Council of Senior Centers and Services of NYC, and Legal Services NYC.
“Reauthorizing VAWA renews our commitment to preventing domestic violence across the country and helping the countless women who have been victims,” said Dromm, the resolution’s main sponsor. “For 17 years, VAWA has provided invaluable services and resources to curb the incidences of sexual assault and it is clear that we must continue to support this landmark piece of legislation if we are to succeed in our effort to break the cycle of violence.”
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