National Crime Victims’ Rights Week: SAVE Calls for End to Discriminatory Practices
WASHINGTON / April 22, 2013 – In recognition of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE) is calling on lawmakers, state Attorney Generals, and prosecutors to move quickly to implement the VAWA Inclusion Mandate.
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice, National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is being observed April 21-27. The Week’s theme is “New Challenges, New Solutions.”
Discriminatory practices have been documented against male (1), LGBT (2), and immigrant (3) victims of abuse. So the critical “new challenge” is to review and upgrade organizational policies, staffing patterns, and outreach efforts to end illegal exclusionary practices, the victim-rights coalition says.
The VAWA Inclusion Mandate requires recipients of Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) funding to refrain from discriminatory practices on the basis of “race, color, religion, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability.” The Inclusion Mandate also includes provisions specific to LGBT, male, and immigrant victims (4).
The VAWA Inclusion Mandate applies to all criminal justice organizations that receive VAWA funding — prosecutors, law enforcement, and the judiciary. Attorney General Eric Holder has noted: “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” (5).
“For too many years, bias and prejudice have kept victims from getting the protections and services they desperately need,” notes SAVE spokesperson Sheryle Hutter. “We encourage lawmakers, Attorney Generals, and prosecutors to respond swiftly to the new challenge of VAWA inclusion.”
To support implementation of the Inclusion Mandate, Stop Abusive and Violent Environments – SAVE – has established an Inclusive-VAWA Resource Center (6). In January, SAVE sent a letter to the National District Attorneys Association, asking the group to ensure state and local prosecutors enforce non-discrimination policies (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