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Blog: Violence Against Women Act Needs Reauthorization

Nov 29, 2011 | By Mary Ellen Lacy, D.C.

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was enacted in 1994 in order to protect women’s civil rights in instances of violent crimes. As a battered spouse, child or parent, the victim may file an immigrant visa petition under the VAWA.

VAWA allows certain spouses, children and parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents (green card holders) to obtain lawful status without having to rely on their abusers to petition. Spouse abusers who marry non-citizens often use their sponsorship as a means of power and control in the relationship. They threaten their victims with withdrawal of their petition, which leads to control through fear of deportation. However, VAWA neutralizes that threat and enables the abused person to come forward and report the abuse without fear of removal.

VAWA is due for reauthorization on November 30, Congress will vote on the Violence Against Women Act.

Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Mike Crapo (R-ID), will introduce a bipartisan bill on Wednesday (11/30) to reauthorize and improve VAWA! The National Task Force has worked closely with them on the bill to ensure that it will not only continue proven effective programs, but that it will make key changes to streamline VAWA and make sure that even more people have access to safety, stability and justice. This is an important step forward for VAWA and we hope to get even more improvements as the bill moves forward!

What’s most important now is to get the Senators on the list below excited about VAWA and to get their support for the bill. If you live in any of the states listed below, please call your Senator(s) TODAY and ask for them to be original co-sponsors of VAWA. We need to keep their phones ringing!

Talking points:

  • We know that Senator _________ cares about ending domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking.
  • The Violence Against Women Act is critical to our ability to address these crimes in our state.
  • There is evidence showing that VAWA has saved millions of dollars and countless lives.
  • We are asking for you to be an original co-sponsor of the Leahy/Crapo bill that will be introduced on Wednesday.
  • Please contact Anya McMurray or Noah Bookbinder at (202)224-7703 to sign on to the bill.


Sessions, Jeff - (202) 224-4124

Shelby, Richard - (202) 224-5744   


Boozman, John - (202) 224-4843


Murkowski, Lisa - (202) 224-6665   


McCain, John - (202) 224-2235  

Kyl, Jon - (202) 224-4521


Rubio, M