For Immediate Release
May 8, 2012

Committee Approves Bill to Combat Violence Against Women

Washington, D.C. – The House Judiciary Committee today approved a bill to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) for five years. The Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization of 2012 (H.R. 4970) ensures that federal resources authorized by VAWA go directly to organizations and programs that help prevent violent crime and protect victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. The House bill provides the same levels of funding for VAWA grant programs as the Senate-passed bill.

The Committee voted 17-15 to reauthorize VAWA. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), a co-sponsor of the bill, today praised the Committee vote.

Chairman Smith: “Since its enactment in 1994, the Violence Against Women Act has helped many women escape abuse and enabled them to seek help through its victim-services program. The House bill fully reauthorizes the VAWA grant programs at the same funding levels as the Senate bill. The bill provides more than $650 million in funding per year to help prevent domestic violence and protect victims of abuse.

“In Texas, I have seen first-hand the importance of this Act. Under VAWA, a domestic violence hotline was established in 1996 that has since answered nearly 2.5 million calls and saved many lives. It is essential that programs like these are in place to protect victims, not just from the physical bruises, but from the emotional and mental scars as well.

“Violence against women doesn’t occur along party lines, and neither should reauthorization of these programs. But instead of working with Republicans in a bipartisan manner to protect women from domestic violence, rape and stalking, Democrats chose to place partisan posturing above the urgent needs of victims of violence.

“In addition to providing funding, this reauthorization strengthens penalties for sexual assault and abuse, promotes educational awareness to prevent violence, and increases accountability for grant recipients. By reauthorizing VAWA, we can help victims of violence get the care they need and justice they deserve.”

For more information about the reauthorization of VAWA, please visit the House Judiciary Committee website.