PRESS RELEASE

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

Leading Scientists and Organizations Urge Reforming the Violence Against Women Act:

SAVE Calls for Prompt Congressional Action

WASHINGTON / February 5, 2013 – A group of scientists, victim advocates, and 15 leading organizations have endorsed a series of reforms to the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), a law that is currently up for reauthorization in Congress. The endorsers include many of the acclaimed scientists who have elucidated the causes and dynamics of intimate partner violence.

The VAWA Reform Principles are endorsed by the Independent Women’s Forum, National Coalition for Men, Washington Civil Rights Council, 60 Plus Association, Able Americans, and many others. The endorsing organizations collectively represent the interests of a majority of the American public.

The Reform Principles address a range of documented deficiencies with the nearly 20-year-old federal law, including the need for greater emphasis on programs to address substance abuse, marital instability, and emotional disorders. The principles suggest a greater emphasis on partner reconciliation when it is safe to do so.

The principles highlight how VAWA has placed excessive attention on criminal justice measures such as restraining orders, which lack proof of effectiveness. The reforms call for the elimination of policies that mandate arrest in the absence of probable cause, an unconstitutional policy that was found in a Harvard University study to increase partner homicides by nearly 60%.

The Principles address other shortcomings with existing domestic violence programs. These include the need for programs to afford priority to victims of physical violence, for disseminating accurate abuse-reduction information to the public, and for instituting stronger accountability measures.

“For far too long, domestic violence programs have been based on gender ideology, resulting in programs that have been ineffective, unresponsive, and even dangerous to victims,” explains SAVE spokesperson Sheryle Hutter. “We urge lawmakers to include these reforms in the Violence Against Women Act bills currently being considered in Congress.”

The complete list of Principles and endorsers can be seen here: http://www.saveservices.org/pvra/vawa-reform-principles/

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