New Violence Against Women Act Introduced

Massive Bill has 87 House Co-sponsors


by Kim Gandy, Executive Vice President

The Violence Against Women Act of 1998 (VAWA II), containing over 40 provisions and $3.7 billion in funding over five years, was introduced in March. Most of the funding would be allocated to and administered at the state or local level. In addition to reauthorizing successful programs from the original 1994 act, the bill would launch and fund badly needed programs to address domestic violence and sexual assault. Here is a sampling of the proposals:

Three-year reauthorization of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, which has received up to 10,000 calls per month for assistance

Expansion of federal hate crimes laws to include crimes based on the victim's gender, sexual orientation or disability

State and local grants to provide for a coordinated system of response to domestic violence by law enforcement, judges, shelters and social services, including national crime databases for stalking and domestic violence

An additional $1.1 billion to fund and improve existing shelter services and increased financial support for rape crisis centers

Creation of safe havens for children, including supervised visitation centers for use in domestic violence cases

New availability of Section 8 low-income housing certificates for victims of domestic violence who are trying to escape from their batterers

Establishment of a National Resource Center on Sexual Assault, with funding for rape prevention and education

Services to address the special needs of older women, women with disabilities, and battered immigrant women

Training for judges, social workers, and others about domestic violence

Increased efforts to stop the cycle of violence, including education programs for elementary school students and training for their teachers on domestic violence and sexual assault

New requirements for reporting violent crimes against women on college and university campuses

NOW Foundation was involved in the research and preparation of the bill, and NOW is taking he lead in organizing grassroots support for the legislation.The full text of the bill and additional facts appear on the NOW Foundation web site at http://www.now.org/foundation/ and is also available from House Documents, Room B18, House Annex II, Washington, D.C., 20515; phone: 202-226-5200.
 


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