SUPPORT OF THE 2011 REAUTHORIZATION OF THE VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ACT
WHEREAS, the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), introduced by then-Senator Joe Biden, passed in 1994, and requiring reauthorization every five years, was the first federal acknowledgement of domestic violence and sexual assault; and
WHEREAS, VAWA has achieved commendable success in reducing such violence, evidenced by a 53 percent decline in the rate of nonfatal violence against women, and a 51 percent increase by women and a 37 percent increase by men in reporting such incidents; and
WHEREAS, this legislation provides funding for such initiatives as grants to combat violence, sexual assault services, civil legal assistance, transitional housing, grants to encourage arrest, service to rural and other underserved populations, and grants for prevention and youth programs; and
WHEREAS, for the first time, the Reauthorization Act of 2011 will explicitly state that grant recipients (cities, states, etc.) cannot discriminate on the basis of the victim's gender or status in the LGBT community; and
WHEREAS, the 2011 funding of $730 million brings total federal support to $4 billion; and
WHEREAS, the Reauthorization Act of 2011 is currently being taken up by the Senate Judiciary Committee, and later by the full Senate:
RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers will send a letter expressing support for the passage of the 2011 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act to both houses of Congress and to the appropriate media.