Sen. Menendez on the 20th Anniversary of VAWA

Sen. Menendez on the 20th Anniversary of VAWA

WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) today issued the following statement in observance of the 20th anniversary of the Violence Against Women's Act (VAWA), which was signed into law on September 13, 1994.

"This Saturday marks the 20-year anniversary of the landmark Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) which fundamentally changed how we view and respond to domestic and sexual assault.

"Before VAWA, domestic violence was quietly dismissed as a "family matter." Women who suffered from domestic violence suffered in silence, and law enforcement failed to give this issue the attention it desperately needed.

"Since Bill Clinton signed VAWA into law, domestic violence rates plummeted 67%, state laws have been changed and offenders have been held accountable. The National Domestic Violence Hotline has answered over 3 million calls for help.

"Over the same time, we've seen a sea-change in the way these issues are perceived. The American people said we must no longer stand for abuse of any kind. As a nation, we stood up for women everywhere who themselves stood up and said that they would no longer be victims.

"But there is more to do in the fight against domestic violence. On this anniversary, we should commemorate both the progress we've made and our commitment to see the job through."

VAWA was the first major law to help government agencies and victim advocates work together to fight domestic violence, sexual assault, and other types of violence against women. It created new punishments for certain crimes and started programs to prevent violence and help victims. Over the years, the law has been expanded to provide more programs and services for victims. Menendez has been a long-time advocate for VAWA, voting to swiftly reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act in 1994, 2000, 2005, and 2013. Additionally he repeatedly thwarted Republican attempts to dilute or strip provisions that protect all women from discrimination and abuse.