This Act, initially enacted in 1994 and reauthorized every five years, seeks to provide aid to the victims of domestic abuse, and to law enforcement efforts to prevent these horrible crimes. As this Act is up for renewal once again this year, the resolution urges Congress to reauthorize VAWA, along with its newly proposed additions, before the upcoming recess.
In her opening statement on the matter, Councilor Pressley brought up the issue that domestic abuse can tend to take a backseat to other issues, such as sexual harassment, even in the midst of movements such as “Me Too” and “Time’s Up,” advising, “It’s incumbent upon us, that in this moment of elevated consciousness about these issues, that we are integrating domestic violence into this dialog and into our policymaking. This is not a crime that discriminates.”
Councilor Edwards also spoke on the matter, highlighting the impact that this Act can have on immigrants specifically, and how the Act gives them a mechanism to come forward by protecting the victims of crimes and allowing them to report abuse – even if they are undocumented – without fear of repercussions. “This is about economic justice as well,” Edwards said. “This is about a national conversation, which I don’t think had happened until 1994 when VAWA had passed, where the nation recognized that violence against women impacted us economically and impacted us in such a huge way.”