Making changes in national law to protect victim/survivors of domestic violence!

Arizona

ACTION ALERT * VAWA

***ACTION ALERT***

Crew –

I realize I usually send you information regarding the Texas legislative process and so you may be surprised to see an email and an action alert from me especially because the Texas legislature will not be in session until January 2013. This email relates to important efforts TCFV and our partners have taken on at the federal level.

For the past year, Congress has been working on the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). VAWA is a coordinated civil and criminal legal and direct services approach that has worked for over almost two decades. In 2011 alone, Texas received $8.8 million in grants that help communities all over the state take violence against women seriously. I myself served as a VAWA-funded prosecutor and so saw the direct impact to our efforts at keeping vicitms safe and holding offenders accountable.

Bottom line: VAWA represents the federal government’s robust, comprehensive and successful approach to addressing intimate partner violence, sexual assault and stalking.

The Congressional authorization of VAWA must be renewed from time to time and in fact the authorization for the past cycle expired almost two years ago. TCFV has been participating and monitoring the progress of Reauthorization, including getting into the details of the various bills and offering direct feedback to national partners and the Texas elected delegation. Whereas in the previous two cycles of VAWA Reauthorization the bill drew no opposition, this time around Congress has not come to consensus as easily.

The good news is that the Senate has already passed S.1925; this bill represents the most thoroughly vetted and bipartisan approach to Reauthorization. TCFV supports S.1925 and asks that you do so as well. If you would like to appraise the bill yourself, you can find the full text at http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/s1925. The bill passed the Senate by a margin on 68-31.

The House has also taken up the measure with its HR 4970. Although the House version contains significant components of S.1925, it also omits and incorporates different provisions that will harm victims and their service provision. Among several areas of concern are the significant erosion of protection for immigrant victims of violence and the increase of bureaucracy and resulting expense that would come from direct victim services funding. If you are interested, here is the entire bill –http://docs.house.gov/billsthisweek/20120514/BILLS-112-HR4970RH.pdf.

Two important steps in the process most likely will occur this week. First, the powerful House Rules Committee will determine this Tuesday how the debate will occur when the overall House votes on the bill. The Rules Committee will decide whether members will be allowed to offer changes to the bill and even whether debate on the bill can occur on the House floor. TCFV calls for the inclusion of amendments that protect vulnerable immigrant victims and others, a debate of the bill on the House floor and allowing the introduction of amendments during the debate.

Second, the bill will go to the full House for a vote. In preparation for that vote, TCFV calls on Texas House members to support changes to HR4970 that conform with S.1925 to the greatest extent possible.

In service of these goals, TCFV continues to work with our Congressional partners to offer solutions regarding the provisions. This is where you can help.

We have drafted the attached letter that you can use to communicate your support for S.1925 and the needed changes to HR 4970; Texas family violence programs, their boards and community partners will be particularly impactful, but contacts from others will also help. Because time is of the essence, we ask that you make contact today and do so by email rather than a traditional letter. TCFV makes careful and strategic decisions about how often and in what manner to call on programs and supporters to make this kind of outreach. We ask for you to do so because we judge this stage and this approach to be key in the VAWA Reauthorization process.

Do you know who represents you in Congress? Find out at http://www.house.gov/representatives/.

In addition to your elected members, also consider including:
-Chairman Lamar Smith, who leads the Judiciary Committee (http://lamarsmith.house.gov/)
-Congressman Pete Sessions, who serves on the Rules Committee (http://sessions.house.gov/)

I have also attached a fact sheet which highlights some key areas of HR 4970 that we ask the House to change.

After the House completes it work on VAWA Reauthorization, the Senate and the House would then need to convene a Conference Committee comprised of Senate and House members to work out the differences between the two versions of the bill. Following that conference committee work, the resulting bill would then return to both chambers for their ratification. These will also be important steps and as such TCFV will communicate with you in a strategic manner and at strategic points along the way.

Questions? I am happy to speak with you on VAWA or any topic. See below for my card with my cell number.

Cheers –

Aaron


48Hrs Expose: Forced Marriages and Honor Killings, a global issue

Tonight, they did a great expose about cultural beliefs, differences of moral beliefs, consequences not adhering to one’s original cultural and moral beliefs, and honor killings that may result in light of what cultural you are from.

After viewing the show tonight, I posted a comment in hopes of reaching Javsinder Sangher, founder of the Karma Nivarna program in Great Britain, designed to help those who are being forced in marriages and/or being threatened to be killed by honor killings.

 

The comment states:

Extra: Helping victims of honor-based violence
by txbluebonnet2006 April 7, 2012 11:25 PM EDT
As a domestic violence advocate, I would love to get to talk to Jasvinder Sanghera more. I know that this is indeed a strong culture thing among these cultures, but it would seem that, no matter if one perceives that their family isn’t complying to their own morals, culture – even when in a different country that doesn’t adhere necessarily to the same ideas, morals as upheld in the family’s own culture/beliefs, that killing is killing and should be held to the same standards universally. It is one thing to punish the child, but to kill them seems inhumane to say the least.

It is shocking that that the U.N. recognizes that over 5,000 girls are murdered due to honor — and, not much more has been done about it.

I host a radio show on BlogTalkRadio called Beyond Words Live! (http://blogtalkradio.com/oralhistory), maintain Domestic Violence Voices on (http://facebook.com/domesticviolencevoices), partner on the National Domestic Violence Survivor Law Project (https://www.dvsurvivorlaw.com), and on the board to Survive2Thrive Foundation (http://survive2thrivefoundation.org) to help me get the messages out and more awareness of all domestic violence issues (which forced marriages indeed fall upon that realm). I would love to get an opportunity to talk more to Jasvinder Sanghera about her organization for victims of forced marriages and honor-based violence in Great Britain.

Please have Jasvinder Sanghera contact me as soon as possible so that I can help her to spread more awareness about this issue.

I sincerely believe in that more needs to be done. As an advocate, I am probably more aware about the issues than most people; however, it is so true that more people need to be informed about this horrible event that is occurring globally and in our United States of America as well.

No matter the beliefs, it is no reason to commit harm to another individual, especially one’s own child. How can a parent even think about harming one’s own child? Where do you stand on your beliefs?

As in the case that j48 hrs focused upon tonight (which happened in Peoria, Arizona), do you feel that the father killed his daughter in a premeditated manner – or not?

Love to hear more from you….

 

Additional information about tonight’s story on 48hrs:

 

http://www.cbsnews.com/sections/48hours/main3410.shtml?tag=hdr;cnav

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7404578n&tag=cbsnewsLeadStoriesArea.0

http://www.cbsnews.com/2300-18559_162-10011754.html?tag=cbsnewsLeadStoriesArea.0

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7404306n&tag=cbsnewsLeadStoriesArea.0

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7404312n&tag=cbsnewsLeadStoriesArea.0

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7404314n&tag=cbsnewsLeadStoriesArea.0

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18559_162-57409965/resources-honor-based-violence/?tag=cbsnewsLeadStoriesArea.0

AHA Foundation

 

Amnesty International

 

Karma Nirvana

 

Tahirih Justice Center

 

UN Women: United National Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women

 

Women Thrive Worldwide


We begin.. March 2012

We are fascilitating a voice to change established State laws to the national level through awareness to the masses about the issues surrounding domestic violence victims and survivors, which are trying to make a movement to provide guidance from the national level in helping to better protect the victims and survivors of domestic violence. Guest bloggers, who are already domestic violence advocates and/or already experts in the field of domestic violence laws and the need for change to incur to better protect all victims and survivors in the future, will also provide input to help provide further structure and guidance in advocating for changes. Enjoy and be prepared to be informed, have continued education on these issues and receive call to actions as we proceed with our efforts! We encourage victims and survivors to provide input through the comment and/or occasional guest blogging.

Heather Piedmont, Policy Director &
Kathryn Krastin, Advocacy Director & Technical Support


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