Washington—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten released the following statement on the passage of the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) by the U.S. Senate.
"Never, under any circumstances, should violence against women be condoned or ignored. I applaud the Senate on passing the reauthorization of VAWA. This legislation is vital to curbing domestic violence against victims who seek safety and independence from their spouses or intimate partners. The expansion of this bill to include protections for gay and lesbian victims as well as Native Americans is a crucial improvement, and we call on the U.S. House to pass this legislation expeditiously with all of these provisions intact.
"The toll of domestic abuse extends beyond its direct victims. Family members also feel its impact— particularly the 15.5 million children who witness domestic violence every year. Policies that fund and promote education about domestic violence are essential in preventing such violence.
"VAWA's record of effectiveness is indisputable. Since the law's enactment in 1994, reports of domestic violence have dropped more than 50 percent. Reducing violence of all kinds and making our communities safe must be priorities in the 113th Congress, and the House should move swiftly to join the Senate in approving this legislation in its current form."