SHAHEEN: WE MUST REAUTHORIZE THE VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ACT

Visits Bridges Domestic and Sexual Violence Support center to talk about the importance of these crucial services

April 13, 2012

(Nashua, NH) –Renewing the Violence Against Women Act is vital to providing services to New Hampshire women and families dealing with domestic abuse, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) said today in a roundtable discussion at the Bridges Domestic and Sexual Violence Support center in Nashua. Federal funding for critical services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault will run out in September if Congress doesn’t reauthorize the legislation.

First passed in 1994, the Violence Against Women Act expired late last year. Unless Congress renews it before the end of the federal fiscal year, federal grants to states and local service providers like Bridges are at risk.

“On my tour today, I had the chance to hear the inspiring stories of the brave women here, both those seeking help and those providing it,” Shaheen said., “I saw firsthand the crucial positive impact these services have on our communities. We need to come together in a bipartisan way to pass the Violence Against Women Act so we don’t put the safety of women and families at risk. Too many people need our help and we can't afford to wait.”

“In New Hampshire we have a strong network that provides services to victims and holds offenders accountable for their crimes,” said Kim France , Executive Director for the Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. “The reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act will ensure that this critical work will continue. We commend Senator Shaheen for taking a leadership role on this important legislation.”

Bridges is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping victims and survivors of domestic and sexual violence.  The center provides crisis intervention, emergency shelter, court advocacy, support groups and education and outreach to both women and men.

According to the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, nearly one in four women in New Hampshire has been sexually assaulted, at least a third of New Hampshire women have been the victim of a physical assault by an intimate partner and more than half of all women in the state have experienced sexual or physical assault over the course of their lifetime.

The Violence Against Women Act was first passed in 1994 and was reauthorized with broad bipartisan support in 2000 and 2005.  More than 200 national organizations and 500 state and local organizations have expressed their support for the bill, including the Fraternal Order of Police, the National Association of Attorneys General, the National District Attorneys’ Association, the National Sheriffs’ Association and the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association.

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