REAUTHORIZATION OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ACT PENDING
A bipartisan group of senators announced in December that they had reached a deal on a framework to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), according to a report published in The Hill. “After nearly three years of negotiations, we have reached an agreement on a bipartisan framework to strengthen, modernize and reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act. This important legislation will help prevent violence, support survivors and hold perpetrators accountable for their violent actions,” Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said in a joint statement. The four senators said they were “committed to introducing” the reauthorization in January.
“Every day that goes by without action puts lives at risk, and we will work tirelessly to ensure that this framework becomes law as soon as possible,” they said.
The reauthorization includes measures improving the response to sexual violence, supporting funding for legal services and trauma-informed law enforcement responses, boosting efforts around rape prevention and education and widening survivors’ access to emergency housing.
The House passed a reauthorization of VAWA in March, but it has since languished in the Senate. A Day of Policy Action, coordinated by advocacy organizations across the country and led by the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence, was held on January 19, with the support of Michael Bolton and The Michael Bolton Charities.
CT LAWMAKERS URGE INCREASED FUNDING TO ADDRESS INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE
Several Connecticut lawmakers, from a U.S. Senator to the highest-ranking legislator in the state legislature, want to see increased funding to better address intimate partner violence in response to a Hearst Connecticut Media Group investigative series.
The yearlong investigation uncovered various ways in which public systems, often struggling due to resource shortages, have failed to adequately support the tens of thousands of residents who are victimized by intimate partner violence each year, and most critically, those who are lost to abuse.
"This series is so immensely powerful and it presents such a powerful, graphic and gripping real life picture of how domestic violence can kill,” said U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal. “It shows the life shattering and real life impact and in a sense how we can repair the system.”
One key finding of the series was that many courts across the state lack the staff and resources to run special domestic violence court hearings in line with best practices, even though the model was established 25 years ago and is considered particularly effective when run properly.
WOMEN OF COLOR OVERREPRESENTED IN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ARRESTS, DATA SHOW
Black and Hispanic women make up about 25% of Connecticut’s female population but represent about 53% of domestic violence arrest cases for adult females in 2020, according to State Judicial Branch data, as reported on the Connecticut Health Investigative Team (C-HIT) news website. It’s a disparity that is playing out in courtrooms across the state, according to public defenders who contend that Black and brown women often face harsher penalties and longer court proceedings to gain a favorable outcome, C-HIT reported.
“This is real, it is very real,” said Jassette Henry, a senior assistant public defender in New Britain and a tri-chair of the Racial Justice and Cultural Competency Committee within the state’s Division of Public Def ender Services. “The question is, what are we going to do about it?”
Read the investigative news story here.