APALC expresses its deep disappointment as the 112th Congress ended its term without reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The law, first enacted in 1994, created life-saving programs and special immigration provisions to protect and enhance the lives of domestic violence and sexual assault survivors. The latest version of VAWA expired in 2011, but members of Congress were unable to come to an agreement on a final bill in 2012 – the unfortunate result of which is no VAWA as we move into 2013.
APALC has been assisting domestic violence and sexual assault survivors for nearly 30 years, with a special emphasis on helping the low-income, limited English proficient, immigrant community. VAWA became a powerful tool, allowing us to assist more clients with family law and immigration issues through funding and support. It also allowed us to greatly increase the level of services we could provide. VAWA created special provisions to help survivors gain a path to legal status through remedies such as the VAWA self-petition process and the U-Visa.
Without the reauthorization of VAWA, and in light of the federal fiscal crisis, an estimated 200,000 survivors of violence are in current danger of losing services.
APALC calls on our elected members of Congress to quickly pass a just and fair VAWA bill that remains true to its original intent—protecting domestic violence and sexual assault survivors and supporting comprehensive services to help stop the cycle of violence.