PRESS RELEASE

Contact: Teri Stoddard
Telephone: 301-801-0608
Email: tstoddard@saveservices.org

Women Shortchanged by Violence Against Women Act, SAVE Charges

WASHINGTON / January 25, 2013 – Following introduction of the Violence Against Women Act in Congress, SAVE, a leading victim-rights organization, is charging the bills fall short in addressing the causes of domestic violence, ignore abuse-prone women, and in some cases place victims at greater risk of harm.

The bills were introduced Tuesday in the Senate (S. 47) by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and in the House of Representatives (H.R. 11) by Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI). The bills seek to enhance the criminal justice response to domestic violence through wider use of restraining orders, mandatory arrests, and mandatory prosecutions.

A report by Stop Abusive and Violent Environments, Have Domestic Violence Programs Delivered on Their Promises to Women?, documents that many programs funded by the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) are harmful, ineffective, or non-responsive to women’s needs: http://www.saveservices.org/downloads/VAWA-Has-It-Delivered-on-Its-Promises-to-Women

The report found that VAWA programs:

  • Are ineffective in reducing abuse
  • Promote arrest and prosecution policies that place women at greater homicide risk
  • Often ignore the wishes of abused women
  • May lull women into a false sense of security
  • Ensnare women in a rigid criminal justice bureaucracy
  • Make it more difficult for real victims to get help
  • Shortchange the needs of female aggressors
  • May not provide needed services at abuse shelters, and
  • Can lead to the removal of children from their homes

“Women can see through the smoke and mirrors of elected officials who introduce an anti-woman law and then turn around and claim they are trying to help women.” charges SAVE spokesperson Sheryle Hutter. “These people need to be advocates for effective, accountable programs, not lapdogs of an extreme gender ideology.”

SAVE supports passage of the Violence Against Women Act, but believes major changes are necessary: http://www.saveservices.org/mandate-for-change/

Stop Abusive and Violent Environments is a victim-advocacy organization working for evidence-based solutions to domestic violence and sexual assault: www.saveservices.org