Schakowsky Commemorates 20th Anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act

September 15, 2014
Press Release

CHICAGO – Saturday marked 20 years since President Bill Clinton signed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) into law on September 13, 1994.  The landmark legislation creates critical protections for victims of domestic violence and dramatically strengthens the nation’s criminal justice response to violence against women. Rep. Jan Schakowsky released the following statement about the anniversary:

“The Violence Against Women Act has been absolutely vital in saving the lives of women and their families. We must continue to strengthen our response to these crimes and deepen our commitment to all survivors. Here are some of the critical impacts VAWA has made so far:

  • Stricter sentencing guidelines for repeat federal sex crime offenders
  • Resources to tribal, local, and state law enforcement communities to address violent crimes against women
  • Annual funding for training for more than 500,000 law enforcement officers, prosecutors, judges and other personnel
  • Providing the 24/7 National Domestic Violence Hotline, which responds to more than 22,000 urgent calls for help every month

Clearly, VAWA has been working for 20 years to protect women and families, but much more needs to be done.  Domestic violence is still prevalent in our society. The events of this past week and recent months have put a public spotlight on the terrible violence that still occurs against women. This violence must stop. That is why I stand with many House Democrats in a full commitment to strengthening domestic violence programs.  As part of the Putting the Middle Class First agenda, House Democrats will strengthen VAWA by making investments in shelters and other life-saving domestic violence services.

Violence against women is also a widespread international problem. It has been estimated that nearly a billion women globally will be beaten, raped, mutilated or otherwise abused during their lifetimes — that is 1 in 3 women. I have introduced the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA), a bill to create a comprehensive strategy to combat violence against women and girls abroad. This legislation would give the U.S. State Department new tools ranging from health programs and survivor services to legal reforms in order to promote economic opportunities and education for women.  IVAWA would also increase humanitarian funding and update mechanisms for responding to emergency outbreaks of violence against women and girls.

We must continue the fight to end violence against women in our nation and abroad.  I will continue to partner with those who share this mission and we will keep working to keep women and children from suffering senseless violence.”