Tag Archives: VAWA

Domestic violence risks increase for undocumented women


The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) waits in limbo for reauthorization in Congress. While legislators discuss content, thousands of women are suffering the physical and mental consequences of abuse, and abusers go on with impunity.

Among those women, uncounted undocumented Latinas  continue to be unaware of their right to be protected by the law. They aren’t likely to report domestic violence incidents out of fear of being deported, of seeing their families split, and of enraging their partners making violence even worse.

Complete story


Sign Letter to Urge Authorization of Violence Against Women Act S-1925 NOW

Dear Advocates, service providers, and allies: Please sign this letter in support of reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) put together by the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence (NTF). The NTF is comprised of a large and diverse group of national, tribal, state, territorial and local organizations, as well as individuals, committed to securing an end to violence against women. Included are civil rights organizations, labor unions, advocates for children and youth, anti‐poverty groups, immigrant and refugee rights organizations, women’s rights leaders, education groups, and others focusing on a wide range of social, economic and racial justice issues. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact reauthorizeVAWA@gmail.com.

National Network Against Domestic Violence condemns House bill

National Network Against Domestic Violence NNEDV issued a statement responding to a U.S. House vote in favor of a harmful version of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Sue Else, NNEDV’s president, said:

“The House took an enormous step backward in passing a Violence Against Women Act that weakens vital protections for victims and fails to address their urgent needs. During a time of great need, we should be expanding cost-effective, proven protections rather than weakening them.

“We applaud those who listened to thousands of victim advocates and voted against this harmful bill, and we look forward to working with lawmakers to make right today’s wrong.”

HUD Strengthens Protections for Victims of Domestic Violence

November 2, 2010

Washington, D.C. – infoZine – U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan announced new, stronger affordable housing regulations that protect victims of domestic abuse as the nation concludes National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. To read the final regulatory requirements under the Violence against Women Act (VAWA), visit HUD’s website.

“This rule recognizes the need to protect victims of domestic abuse from being evicted just because they were victimized. No one should be afraid of losing their home if they report abuse” said Donovan. “The Obama Administration has strengthened the existing interim regulation to further protect victims and ensures that current or former victims of domestic violence will not be turned down from HUD programs.”

“The 2009 U.S. Conference of Mayors annual report on Hunger and Homelessness identified domestic violence as the third leading cause of homelessness among families,” said HUD Assistant Secretary Sandra Henriquez. “This regulation protects victims housing so they are not forced to choose between staying with their abuser and becoming homeless.”

VAWA, which was enacted in 2005, provided legal protections for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. These protections apply to families receiving rental assistance under HUD’s public housing program, Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program, and multi-family project-based Section 8 program. 

The rule announced today addresses many concerns advocates raised with the 2008 interim rule by clarifying and aligning HUD’s statutory language with VAWA; providing more detailed guidance to housing authorities and Section 8 property owners on how to implement VAWA and making a commitment to provide further guidance in the future. For example, guidance in the new rule requires that housing authorities or management agents exhaust protective measures before eviction. Evictions can only take place after the housing or subsidy providers have taken actions that will reduce or eliminate the threat to the victim, including, transferring the abuse victim to a different home; barring the abuser from the property; contacting law enforcement to increase police presence or develop other plans to keep the property safe; or seeking other legal remedies to prevent the abuser from acting on a threat.

Presidential Proclamation-15th Anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act

September 14, 2009




Today, we commemorate a milestone in our Nation’s struggle to end violence against women. Authored by then United States Senator Joe Biden and signed into law in September 1994, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was the first law to create a comprehensive response to this problem at the national level. This landmark achievement has helped our Nation make great strides towards addressing this global epidemic.

VAWA sought to improve our criminal justice system’s response to violence against women and to increase services available to victims. It directed all 50 States to recognize and enforce protection orders issued by other jurisdictions, and it created new Federal domestic violence crimes. The law also authorized hundreds of millions of dollars to communities and created a national domestic violence hotline.

This bipartisan accomplishment has ushered in a new era of responsibility in the fight to end violence against women. In the 15 years since VAWA became law, our Nation’s response to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking has strengthened. Communities recognize the special needs of victims and appreciate the benefits of collaboration among professionals in the civil and criminal justice system, victim advocates, and other service providers. With the support of VAWA funds, dedicated units of law enforcement officers and specialized prosecutors have grown more numerous than ever before. Most importantly, victims are more likely to have a place to turn for help — for emergency shelter and crisis services, and also for legal assistance, transitional housing, and services for their children.

Despite this great progress, our Nation’s work remains unfinished. More families and communities must recognize that the safety of our children relates directly to the safety of our mothers. Access to sexual assault services, especially in rural America, must be increased. American Indian and Alaska Native women experience the highest rates of violence, and we must make it a priority to address this urgent problem. We must also work with diverse communities to make sure the response to violence is relevant and culturally appropriate. We must prevent the homicide of women and girls who have suffered from domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

Far too many women in our communities and neighborhoods, and across the world, continue to suffer from violence. Inspired by the promise and achievement of the Violence Against Women Act, our Nation stands united in its determination to end these crimes and help those in need.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim the Fifteenth Anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act. I call upon men and women of all ages, communities, organizations, and all levels of government, to work in collaboration to end violence against women.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fourteenth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.


Backlash against VAWA

Now that Joe Biden, the author of the Violence Against Women Act, is the candidate for Vice President, “father’s rights” organizations, which have spearheaded the backlash against programs for victims of domestic violence, are using the presidential campaign as an excuse to promote their anti-VAWA propaganda.

For example, an article entitled “American dads, think twice before embracing Joe Biden,” would have us go back to the days when victims of domestic violence had less access to the criminal justice system than they do today — the days when beating women wasn’t prosecuted as a crime, but batterers were advised to take a break. The article says,

Biden means well, but he has consistently misunderstood the domestic violence issue. His legislation has harmed many innocent men, particularly those in troubled or disintegrating marriages or relationships. As a result, an Obama-Biden victory could be bad news for American fathers.

Biden says one of his main achievements has been “training police and prosecutors to arrest and convict abusive husbands instead of telling them to take a walk around the block.”

For clarification: VAWA doesn’t promote arresting innocent fathers, and it is disingenuous for these groups to suggest that it does.  (And they know it.)  The “father’s rights” people want police to tell men who are beating (and sometimes later killing their wives) to take a walk around the block? How is that helping?

For more on the backlash, see

Patriarchy Reasserted

Fathers’ Rights and Anti-VAWA Activism

Molly Dragiewicz

University of Ontario Institute of Technology

The backlash against gender-sensitive responses to women’s victimization, offending, and imprisonment is inseparable from contemporary reaction against feminism and other progressive movements. The backlash against the American Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) provides a prime example of this resistance. Despite widespread support for VAWA and other policies designed to address violence against women, some constituencies object to their existence. The author investigates fathers’ rights rhetoric on VAWA as an example of antifeminist backlash.