Office of the Attorney General
Attorneys General Call on Congress to Reauthorize Violence Against Women Act
Attorney General Jack Conway today joined 52 of his fellow Attorneys General in calling on the U.S. Congress to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) to ensure that vital programs working to keep women and families safe from violence and abuse continue uninterrupted.
“The Violence Against Women Act is invaluable to those of us who work every day to investigate, prosecute and prevent domestic violence deaths,” General Conway said. “Since its passage in 1994, VAWA has resulted in a 50 percent drop in the number of domestic violence cases. Even so, three women each day in the United States are killed by abusive husbands and partners.”
In their letter to members of Congress, the Attorneys General note that since the initial passage of VAWA in 1994, the national response to domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking has been transformed. Crimes that used to be considered private, family matters to be dealt with behind closed doors have been brought out of the darkness with dramatic results.
While rates of domestic violence have dropped over the past 17 years, the issues addressed by VAWA are still very much at the forefront of the fight against crime.
“Reauthorization of VAWA would not only allow existing programs to continue uninterrupted, but it would help create new initiatives aimed at key areas that are in need of intervention,” General Conway said. “VAWA also funds prosecutors and victims’ advocates across Kentucky who are helping my office provide a powerful voice for Kentucky’s crime victims.”
These initiatives include:
• Addressing the high rates of domestic violence, dating violence and sexual assault among women aged 16-24. Programs work to combat tolerant youth attitudes toward violence and break the cycle in which women who experience abuse as teens are more likely to be victimized again as adults.
• Improving the response to sexual assault across disciplines by implementing best practices, training, and communication tools among the healthcare, law enforcement, and legal services a victim encounters after an assault.
• Preventing domestic violence homicides by enhancing training for law enforcement, advocates, and others who interact with those at risk. A growing number of experts and researchers agree that these homicides are predictable – and therefore preventable – if we know the warning signs.
Combating Domestic Violence in Kentucky
In August of 2011, Attorney General Conway held a Domestic Violence Fatality Review Summit to gather ideas and information about expanding Domestic Violence Fatality Review (DVFR) teams. Participants included judges, the Justice Cabinet, the Department for Community Based Services, University of Kentucky researchers, the Mary Byron Foundation, representatives from law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, the medical examiner, and victim’s advocates.
In October of 2011, General Conway and his Office of Victim’s Advocacy announced creation of the Warren County Domestic Violence Fatality Review Team to review and analyze a local domestic violence fatality case to identify trends, patterns and risk factors, as well as evaluate the effectiveness of local prevention and intervention strategies.
“Our ultimate goal is to prevent domestic violence related deaths,” General Conway said. “The reauthorization of VAWA and new initiatives, such as Fatality Review Teams, will help us achieve that goal.”
Additional Domestic Violence Fatality Review teams are in place in Jefferson and Fayette County. General Conway is currently working to expand the teams into other Kentucky communities.
The Attorneys General signing on to this letter are from: American Samoa, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virgin Islands, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Link to the AGs Letter http://goo.gl/4FtYA .