Cantwell Pushes to Renew Violence Against Women Act Set to Expire This Year

Next week National Network to End Domestic Violence lobbying week

SEATTLE, WA – U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) is pushing for renewing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which expires at the end of this year. This weekend she met with survivors of domestic violence, local advocates, and law enforcement in Vancouver and Seattle to hear more about how VAWA has helped women in need of services after being abused by people they know.

"Domestic violence is tragic and horrible act that happens to women everywhere," said Cantwell.

"This is not just a problem for women, it's a problem for everyone and we all need to work together to solve it," Cantwell explained. "Domestic violence affects everyone in our society. Ending violence against women will help protect our children and families, and even increase productivity in the workplace. Many people don't realize how much violence against women affects all facets of our community and everyone around us."

Next week the National Network to End Domestic Violence kicks off their congressional lobbying week to encourage lawmakers to support the legislation that will stiffen penalties for repeat domestic violence offenders, provide more resources for battered women to get services they need, and fund local law enforcement training programs. Grace Huang, public policy coordinator for the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, will lobby on behalf of survivors in Washington state.

Last week Cantwell co-sponsored the new Violence Against Women Act of 2005 (S. 1197) that will reauthorize the landmark 1994 domestic violence legislation so that services for survivors of domestic violence will continue to be available for them and their families.

Washington State VAWA programs served 25,031 adults and children in 2001; 32,957 Washingtonians were turned down services in that same year, because there were not enough resources to help them. Many thousands of those turned away were children.

In 2003, Washington State had 51,589 domestic violence related arrests.

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