(WASHINGTON, D.C.) —  Last week, the Independent Women’s Forum released a 6-page policy focus highlighting VAWA’s history, problems with the existing law, problems with proposed reauthorization, and ways to more effectively and efficiently reform VAWA to better help those in need.

The 113th Congress is currently considering reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA); Senate easily passed its reauthorization bill and Congressional leaders are likely to bring a version of the domestic violence legislation to the floor this week.

Democrats in Washington seek to continue VAWA as is and single out select victim groups for special protection. They demonize those who question their approach and champion reforms as indifferent to women’s suffering.  However, there are legitimate flaws with the current VAWA regime and planned expansions, and ways to improve the law to better protect domestic violence victims.

While the Left highlights declining rates of intimate partner violence as a reason to green-light their proposed reauthorization, there is no evidence that this decline is attributable to VAWA.  Intimate partner crimes began to fall along with violent crime rates prior to VAWA’s passage, and rates of violent crime overall have declined significantly more than have rates of domestic violence.

In face, all attempts to study and assess VAWA’s effectiveness in reducing the occurrence of domestic and sexual violence have been problematic.

VAWA has other significant flaws: It overlooks many of the proven causes of violence (such as substance abuse), and has been a source of waste, fraud, and abuse of taxpayer resources.  In some cases, there is even reason to believe that policies advanced in VAWA have backfired on victims.

  Americans want policymakers to efficiently and effectively respond to domestic and sexual violence. Therefore, Congress should use VAWA’s reauthorization to address its most fundamental flaws.

Christina Villegas | Villegas is a visiting fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum (IWF).  She holds a Master Degree in Politics and is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Institute for Philosophic Studies at the University of Dallas, where she was an Earhart Fellow.

She is currently writing her dissertation on the theoretical foundations and legislative history of the Violence Against Women Act and teaching as an adjunct professor at California State University, San Bernardino.  She has taught courses on a variety of topics including American Political Thought, Congress, Political Parties, and the Presidency and has presented her research at Political Science Conferences across the nation.

Source: Press Release – Independent Women’s Forum

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