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The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights  & The Leadership Conference Education Fund
The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

VOTE YES on S. 47 Support S.47, the “Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013,” and Oppose All Amendments

Advocacy Letter - 02/04/13

Source: The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
Recipient: U.S. Senate


Dear Senator:

On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 210 national organizations to promote and protect the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States, we write to urge you to support S.47, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA), and to vote against any amendments that would weaken this important legislation.

The Leadership Conference believes that the reauthorization of VAWA is critical for protecting the civil and human rights of Americans to be free from domestic violence. These protections are especially important for Native Americans and people of color, who experience the highest rates of domestic violence and sexual assault. Further, it is essential that these protections be extended to all instances of intimate partner violence, including for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. In short, S. 47 would strengthen our nation’s ability to prosecute perpetrators of violence and provide protections to all victims.

While domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking occur in all parts of the nation and affect people of all backgrounds, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these forms of violence and harassment disproportionately affect the communities represented by The Leadership Conference. For example, 37 percent of Hispanic women are victims; 43 percent of African-American women and 38 percent of African-American men are victims; and a staggering 46 percent of American Indian or Alaska Native women and 45 percent of American Indian or Alaska Native men experience intimate-partner victimization.[1]

VAWA-funded programs have dramatically improved the national response to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. The annual incidence of domestic violence has decreased by more than 53 percent since VAWA became law in 1994 and reporting by victims has also increased by 51 percent. Not only do these comprehensive programs save lives, they also save money. In its first six years, VAWA saved $12.6 billion in net averted social costs.

Yet, as law enforcement officers, service providers, and health care professionals have acknowledged, even with the successes of the current VAWA programs, there are significant gaps in current VAWA programs which, if addressed, could have a significant impact on diminishing the incidences of domestic violence in the United States. S.47 helps address these concerns by strengthening services for minority communities and expanding protections for underserved communities to include lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Further, S.47 addresses the crisis of violence against women in tribal communities by strengthening legal protections for Native victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. S.47 also includes important improvements to VAWA protections for immigrant victims. In addition, the bill provides new tools and training to prevent domestic violence homicides.

VAWA has provided for a coordinated approach, improving collaboration between law enforcement and victim services providers and supporting community-based responses and direct services for victims. As a result, victims’ needs have been better met, perpetrators have been held accountable, communities have become safer, and progress has been made toward breaking the cycle and culture of violence within families. Without question, VAWA reauthorization is the key to ensuring that victims and survivors of violence have continued access to these critical services.

We look forward to working with you to swiftly adopt, without any weakening amendments S.47, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, and continue a strong federal response to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact June Zeitlin at 202-263-2852 or zeitlin@civilrights.org.

 

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American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO

American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)

Amnesty International USA

Anti-Defamation League

Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum

Asian American Justice Center, Member of Asian American Center for Advancing Justice

Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance

Asian Pacific American Legal Center, a member of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice

Association of Flight Attendants - CWA

Association of Jewish Family & Children’s Agencies

Center for Reproductive Rights

Center for Women Policy Studies

Center for Women's Global Leadership

CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers

Coalition on Human Needs

Communications Workers of America

Disability Policy Consortium

Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF)

Disciples Home Missions & Family and Children's Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Family Equality Council

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Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America, Inc.

Hip Hop Caucus

Human Rights Campaign

Institute for Science and Human Values, Inc.

International Center for Research on Women

International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW)

Jewish Council for Public Affairs

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NAACP

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National Association of Social Workers

National Bar Association

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National Capital Area Union Retirees

National Center for Lesbian Rights

National Center for Transgender Equality

National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development

National Community Reinvestment Coalition

National Congress of American Indians

National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW)

National Council on Independent Living

National Education Association

National Employment Law Project

National Fair Housing Alliance

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund

National Health Law Program

National Immigration Law Center

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National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty

National Legal Aid and Defender Association

National Low Income Housing Coalition

National Organization for Women

National Partnership for Women & Families

National Urban League

National Women’s Law Center

People For the American Way

Planned Parenthood Federation of America

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Refugee Women’s Network

Sealaska Heritage Institute

Secular Coalition for America

The Sentencing Project

South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT)

Southern Poverty Law Center

Transgender Law Center

Union for Reform Judaism

United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries

United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW)

US Human Rights Network

US National Committee for UN Women

Women of Reform Judaism

Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND)

Women’s Business Development Center

Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO)

Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, U.S. Section

Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance

Zonta International


[1] Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS): 2010 Findings on Victimization by Race or Ethnicity (January 2013). Available at  http://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/pdf/NISVS_Report2010-a.pdf

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