Twenty-five years ago, Congress passed the most enhancing act known as the Violence Against Women Act or VAWA. It was a landmark piece of legislation that totally changed the criminal justice system and how it has been responding to crimes. It was an act that supported the survivors and victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. VAWA always represented a critical step ahead and has been providing for a solid foundation for building upon. It has developed with various effective interventions. It was the first federal policy which was dedicated towards creation of a framework for addressing the various types of gender-biased violence like sexual assault, domestic violence, stalking and dating violence. VAWA has been always known for new improvements in its system for strengthening up the protections for the victims. Since, 1994, VAWA went through three reauthorization process for incorporating new provisions in the act.
Growth of VAWA into a holistic style of approach for gender-biased violence
VAWA created the first mechanism of federal structure for addressing IPV. The provisions of VAWA were recognized as the fulfiller of the direst need. VAWA not only strengthened up the criminal laws but also provided funding in order to enhance the enforcements. It was found that VAWA built up a long-awaited successful criminal justice effort for ending all forms of injustice and violence against women. In the early days, there have been various warnings about VAWA’s disproportionate reliance on the enforcement act. There was no form of balanced investment in prevention and social services. In the year 1998, the National Organization of Women noted out in Congress with full support on VAWA that enforcement of laws was not the only solution. It was also necessary to opt for education, training, intervention and research programs for addressing the social problems of sexual assault and domestic violence with full effectiveness.
VAWA reauthorization of 2019
Congress went for reauthorization of the VAWA on April 4, 2019. It will be reauthorized again for five years. The program is meant to be improved with the expansion of eligibility for assistance and by improving funding for granting the various programs. Since its inception in 1994, it has been found that over $7 billion have sent to the local and state Governments for facilitating various programs. The programs included prevention of sexual assault, domestic violence and dating violence. VAWA was last reauthorized in the year 2013. After almost 6 years, it is going in for reauthorization.
The reauthorization of VAWA of 2019 will last up to 2024. The program will be reformed in a number of ways including:
- Expansion of services, officers, training and prosecutors VAWA grants for including additional community resources. It is being done for responding to the incidences of domestic violence in a faster way.
- Increase in grants for combating the violent crimes on campuses. It will range between $12 million to $16 million annually.
- Expanding and preserving the house protections for the victims and survivors.
- Enhancement of law enforcement tools and safeguarding the office of VAWA within the US Department of Justice.
Since its inception in 1994, VAWA has been successful in establishing a vital and nonexistent infrastructure that responds in the best way to sexual assaults, domestic violence, stalking and dating violence. The Federal Government should not shy away from their serious works for improvement of the gender-biased violence. VAWA needs to be reauthorized in such a way that properly maintains the measures of enforcement. Similarly, it should expand its investment for prevention and services for the survivors and victims. Congress needs to continue with its work for the comprehensive approaches towards ending violence against all women.