Contact: Teri Stoddard
Telephone: 301-801-0608

Violence Against Women Act Termed ‘Fundamentally Flawed:’ SAVE Calls for End to Partisan Rhetoric

Washington, DC/April 24, 2012 – The Heritage Foundation has recently released a report that concludes the proposed Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization is “a gross distortion of the original law and is gravely flawed.” The think-tank report, Violence Against Women Act: Reauthorization Fundamentally Flawed, highlights how the bill now being debated in the U.S. Senate, S. 1925, would fund abuse-reduction programs that are unproven, duplicative, and wasteful:

At the heart of the proposed bill, the report argues, lies an ideologically rooted attempt at social engineering:

“Because proponents of the law argued that violence against women is a form of social control perpetuated by—according to their arguments—women’s weaker social, political, and financial status, the substance of the VAWA focused largely on redistributing power and resources to female victims. This philosophy of group victimhood undermines equal protection and the rule of law and has been detrimental to the protection of victims generally.”

The Heritage Foundation report raises further concerns about the bill:

  • There has been no evaluation of VAWA’s effectiveness since its 1994 passage, and S. 1925, introduced by Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, does not address this oversight. SAVE has previously reported on the lack of evidence of VAWA-funded programs:
  • The Violence Against Women Act has already funded duplicative programs that serve demographics targeted by other federal programs. The proposed VAWA reauthorization aggravates this problem.
  • Under the proposed law, Native American tribal courts would have full jurisdiction over non-tribe members who are charged with domestic violence on tribal land.  This “radical and unorthodox” violation of civil rights stands in violation of Supreme Court precedent, the Heritage document notes.

SAVE spokesman Philip W. Cook said: “The Heritage report represents an independent and incisive analysis of VAWA that punches through the partisan rhetoric surrounding the bill.  Victims of domestic violence deserve better than the currently proposed VAWA bill. And Americans deserve a law that respects our Constitution and cherished civil liberties.”

Stop Abusive and Violent Environments is a victim-advocacy organization working for evidence-based solutions to partner violence: