A Legacy of Bias: Lawmakers Urged to Enact Resolution on VAWA Inclusiveness
WASHINGTON / March 25, 2013 – Following recent approval of the federal Violence Against Women Act, SAVE, a national victim-rights organization, is urging state lawmakers to enact a Resolution Regarding the Necessity of Inclusive Domestic Violence Programs (1).
The Resolution is an important first step in reversing years of bias and discrimination in the provision of domestic violence services.
The Violence Against Women Act reauthorization, approved by a bi-partisan vote and signed into law on March 7, 2013, bans discrimination on the basis of “race, color, religion, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability” (2).
The anti-bias measure was included in the law because of documented discriminatory practices against male (3), lesbian/gay (4), and African-American (5) victims of abuse. SAVE receives reports that such practices are widespread and continue to the present day.
The Resolution is featured in a SAVE’s Inclusive-VAWA Resource Center. The Resource Center offers an inclusion checklist, consultation services, fact sheets, and other information for lawmakers, service providers, and abuse victims (6).
“Many believe the civil rights movement of the 1960s ended the legacy of a shameful discriminatory past,” notes SAVE spokesperson Sheryle Hutter. “But every day in America, abuse shelters still promote harmful stereotypes and callously turn away victims from their doorsteps.”
Attorney General Eric Holder welcomed VAWA’s anti-discrimination provisions: “I applaud Congress for passing a bipartisan reauthorization that protects everyone – women and men, gay and straight, children and adults of all races, ethnicities, countries of origin, and tribal affiliations.” (7)
Stop Abusive and Violent Environments is a victim-advocacy organization working for evidence-based solutions to domestic violence and sexual assault: www.saveservices.org
- Tricia Bent-Goodley. Perceptions of Domestic Violence: A Dialogue with African American Women. Health and Social Work, Vol. 29, No. 4. 2004.