Once Bipartisan, Violence Against Women Act Now Faces Political Fight

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), the federal legislation aimed at ending violence against women and supporting victims of violence, is up for reauthorization this year. Senate Democrats plan to begin the push for reauthorization today. The original bill, passed in 1994, enjoyed strong support from both sides of the aisle. This year, Republican critics are voicing opposition, particularly to new programs included in this iteration of VAWA, including expanded programs for illegal immigrants to access visas by claiming domestic violence and support for victims in same-sex relationships. Democrats claim that this is the latest in Republicans' war on women. Republicans claim that federal money needs to be spent responsibly. What does this mean for the future of VAWA and for female voters in the 2012 election?

Joining us is Lynn Hecht Schafran, senior vice president of Legal Momentum, the women's legal defense and education fund. Lynn was part of the team that helped then-Senator Joe Biden draft and pass the original bill in 1994.

Guests:

Lynn Hecht Schafran

Produced by:

Kristen Meinzer

Comments [6]

ivanka klaar

Let's put politics and emotions aside, and have an honest conversation. VAWA is a deeply flawed law that rips families apart, violates men’s fundamental rights, squanders resources through a complete lack of accountability, and does not effectively protect families (men, women and children) from domestic violence.

The law should NOT be reauthorized in its current form, but reworked to be gender neutral and to provide accountability, so that it can truly help families.

Some positive changes are outlined in the proposed Partner Violence Reduction Act, which:

-- Removes provisions that violate the Constitution and restores civil rights to the accused.

-- Gives first priority to real victims and reduces false allegations by constraining definitions and distinguishing between “alleged” victims and “adjudicated” victims.

-- Seeks to protect and restore families when the abuse is minor.

-- Removes harmful mandatory arrest, predominant aggressor, and no-drop prosecution policies, thus helping to restore due process.

-- Allows legal assistance to be provided both to the alleged victim and alleged offender, thus affirming the Constitutional guarantee of “equal protection of the laws.”

-- Requires third-party accreditation of domestic violence training, education, and public awareness programs to assure the accuracy and balance of the information presented.

-- Makes the law gender-inclusive and removes discriminatory policies.

-- Improves the accountability of domestic violence organizations

-- Curbs immigration fraud.

Mar. 16 2012 12:31 PM
ivanka klaar

Let's put politics and emotions aside, and have an honest conversation. VAWA is a deeply flawed law that rips families apart, violates men’s fundamental rights, squanders resources through a complete lack of accountability, and does not effectively protect families (men, women and children) from domestic violence.

The law should NOT be reauthorized in its current form, but reworked to be gender neutral and to provide accountability, so that it can truly help families.

Some positive changes are outlined in the proposed Partner Violence Reduction Act, which:

-- Removes provisions that violate the Constitution and restores civil rights to the accused.

-- Gives first priority to real victims and reduces false allegations by constraining definitions and distinguishing between “alleged” victims and “adjudicated” victims.

-- Seeks to protect and restore families when the abuse is minor.

-- Removes harmful mandatory arrest, predominant aggressor, and no-drop prosecution policies, thus helping to restore due process.

-- Allows legal assistance to be provided both to the alleged victim and alleged offender, thus affirming the Constitutional guarantee of “equal protection of the laws.”

-- Requires third-party accreditation of domestic violence training, education, and public awareness programs to assure the accuracy and balance of the information presented.

-- Makes the law gender-inclusive and removes discriminatory policies.

-- Improves the accountability of domestic violence organizations

-- Curbs immigration fraud.

Mar. 16 2012 12:30 PM
Liza

VAWA simply must be reauthorized. Should it clearly articulate that all DV victims are cover? Absolutely! However, to turn our backs on the significant problems of dating violence, domestic violence, coercive control, and sexual victimization is to sell our daughters (and dare I say our sons) into the kind if enslavement we as a nation fight against in other parts of the world. I am frankly astonished that Americans are willing to do this! This is not about partisanship and it is a shame that the issue is being politicized.

We need to re-authorize and fully fund BOTH, the VAWA (or the VAVA if you prefer to refer to violence and victimization act), as well as the Victims of Child Abuse Act. Was it not in Deuteronomy 25:18, that we are told, through the story of the heinous actions of the Amalekites, that we must work to defend victims, and to never forget the acts of those who victimize. Throughout history, America has fought to end exactly the kinds of victimization that laws like VAWA and VOCA and VOCAA seek to redress.

Yes, I personally have partisan leanings, but justice must.be blind and America must follow her dictates!

Mar. 16 2012 08:02 AM
Charles

Will The Takeaway agree to use the phrase "Obama's War on Energy Production" each and every time that the phrase "the Republicans' War on Women" is used on the program?

If we can't agree on "Obama's War on Energy Production," how's about "the Democrats' War on Business"? Or perhaps just "Public Radio's War on Republicans"?

Just askin'.

Mar. 15 2012 02:08 PM
listener

The Democrats and their media supporters are constantly giving us a study in the "Big Lie" concept and these destructive attempts at division are done for the most petty of political reason. Keep repeating a deliberately distractive lie like the GOP's "War Against Women" again and again and soon the public will automatically accept it while some try to bail out the flood of lies with a thimble of factual truth.

The President and his supporters cannot point to his failed record with no serious sign of success ahead so they offer half baked gimmicks and the manufactured drum beat of hate and suspicion between races, genders and classes. They create an avoidable debt ceiling crisis, encourage a violent Occupy movement and meddle with the US Constitution while deriding, defaming and demagoguing anyone brave enough to protest their malicious and harmful actions against the civil society.

The good news is that many Democrats and Independents are reaching a political epiphany and recognize this grand deception and seduction and will register their distaste in November. No doubt they to will then be labeled as the new enemy by the DNC that they once embraced.

Mar. 15 2012 11:10 AM
D.L.Mc

Hopefully this bill fails. The law should be fairly and evenly applied. Laws that create special categories of victim do more harm than good. Women can also be the abuser. Their children or husband should not need their own special law. If an individual is in danger, we should provide appropriate aid regardless of their sex.

Mar. 15 2012 09:31 AM

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