Dear Speaker Ryan:
As you know, on September 30th the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is set to expire, leaving us only seven legislative days to prevent a lapse in authorization. We therefore write to urge you to advance a bipartisan reauthorization of VAWA without delay.
Since being signed into law in 1994, VAWA has helped to protect and support millions of Americans who have faced domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. This landmark legislation has drastically improved our nation's response to these crimes and has contributed to the overall declining rates of domestic abuse since its enactment. However, instances of violence are still very common. According to the Centers for Disease Control, in our country, about 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men experience some form of contact sexual violence during their lifetime.
Programs authorized and funded under VAWA work to protect girls, boys, men, and women from these terrible crimes. The programs provide funding to ensure safety and support for survivors, increase prevention efforts, expand educational awareness surrounding domestic violence and sexual assault, implement training for health professionals and law enforcement, and to coordinate responses across agencies. We have all seen the positive impact of these programs in our districts and have met individuals in our communities who have benefited from the protections this law provides.
This is not a partisan issue. VAWA has been continually reauthorized on a bipartisan basis in Congress. We must act now to maintain and strengthen this critical law.
We urge expeditious reauthorization of VAWA and thank you for your attention to this important issue.