Help End Violence Against Women NOW: Two Simple Actions You Can Take
Write to your senators today and ask them to sponsor the following two bills. Both of these proposals are crucial in the effort to end violence against women in the U.S. and around the globe.
I. Urge your Senators to Co-Sponsor International VAWA (S.2279)
According to the World Health Organization, one in three women in the world experience some violence in their lifetime.
The International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA - S.2279), sponsored by Senator Joe Biden, D-DE, will put in place steps to help end gender-based violence worldwide in its many forms ? including rape, domestic violence, sexual violence, genital mutilation, forced and child marriage, "honor" killings, dowry related violence, and human trafficking.
The bill requires the U.S. State Department to develop a five-year comprehensive strategy to address violence against women in as many as 20 countries and an annual funding stream of $175 million to support coordinated programs including legal reform, health care, economic empowerment, educational opportunities, and public awareness. The bill also strengthens the protection of women and girls in areas of armed conflict.
Women around the world are counting on the U.S. government to take the lead in the international effort to end violence against women. Please contact your senators and urge them to co-sponsor the IVAWA (S.2279).
II. Put Volunteer Attorneys to Work for Domestic Violence Survivors (S. 1515)
Survivors of domestic violence face multiple problems and challenges in their fight to end the abuse. Quality, experienced legal assistance is very often beyond their financial reach. Abused women without access to legal counsel often identify the criminal and family law justice system as yet another hurdle to overcome and do not see the system as a pathway to physical safety and financial protection.
The National Domestic Violence Volunteer Attorney Network Act (S.1515), sponsored by Senator Joe Biden, D-DE, will provide low-income women access to the same legal resources so readily available to victims with greater financial resources and access to networks within the criminal justice system. The bill would set in motion an effort to mobilize 100,000 volunteer attorneys willing to work on behalf of survivors of abuse.
Studies estimate that fewer than one in five low-income survivors of domestic violence ever even see a lawyer. Legal advice is key for these women to receive protection orders, initiate separation proceedings, or design safe child custody arrangements.
The act would work hand-in-hand with other programs like those already in place and funded by the Violence Against Women Act, filling in the legal services gap. This act will also give the National Domestic Violence Hotline $500,000 so it can provide legal referrals to victims who call in requesting help.
Tell your senators to take the lead in helping survivors of violence navigate the judicial system and secure justice for themselves and their children by sponsoring S.1515.
Don't forget to send both messages. Our system makes it easy for you to do this: Once you've sent your first message (it doesn't matter which one), just follow the link on the confirmation page and it will take you to the other message.
Take action NOW!
Amnesty International's fact sheet on IVAWA (PDF)
Senator Biden's statement on IVAWA
Senator Biden's statement on the National Domestic Violence Volunteer Attorney Network Act
American Bar Association's letter of support for S. 1515 (PDF)