News Releases

Murray Urges Reauthorization of Violence Against Women Act

Mar 15 2012

Murray: This is a bipartisan bill that will advance our efforts to combat domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assaults, and stalking



(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) spoke on the Senate floor in support of reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. This critical bipartisan law, first passed in 1994, has provided life-saving assistance to hundreds of thousands of women and families.  The reauthorization builds on what works in the current law, and improves what doesn’t. Senator Murray called on her colleagues on both sides of the aisle to continue to support VAWA, which will help the country continue on the path of reducing violence toward women.

Key excerpts from Murray’s speech:

“I was so proud to have been here in 1994 when we first passed the Violence Against Women Act—or VAWA—which created a national strategy for dealing with domestic violence. Since we took that historic step, VAWA has been a great success in coordinating victims’ advocates, social service providers, and law enforcement professionals to meet the immediate challenges of combating domestic violence.”

“We reauthorized this law last time here in the Senate unanimously, by voice vote.  And President Bush signed it into law with Democrats standing behind him. So I’m hopeful the bipartisan approach to this issue continues as we work to reauthorize the law once again.  Because…this one shouldn’t be about politics.  Protecting women against violence shouldn’t be a partisan issue.”

“So I want to thank the Democrats and Republicans who have worked together to write this bill.  I am very glad it passed through committee.  I stand ready to support this bill when it comes to the floor. And I truly hope we can get it to President Obama for his signature in a timely fashion—so women and families across America can get the resources and support this law will deliver.”

“…many of us women have come to the floor over the last few weeks to fight back against attempts to turn back the clock when it comes to women’s health care. I’m disappointed these issues kept coming up—but I know I stand with millions of men and women across America who remain ready to defend the gains we’ve made over the last 50 years. And who think we should be moving forward—protecting and supporting more women and families—and not moving backwards.”

 The full text of Senator Murray’s speech follows:

“Madam President, I come to the floor today to join my colleagues in support of this critical legislation to protect women across America from violence.

“I was so proud to have been here in 1994 when we first passed the Violence Against Women Act—or VAWA—which created a national strategy for dealing with domestic violence.

“Since we took that historic step, VAWA has been a great success in coordinating victims’ advocates, social service providers, and law enforcement professionals to meet the immediate challenges of combating domestic violence.

“VAWA  has helped provide life-saving assistance to hundreds of thousands of women and families.

“And it’s been supported by Democrats and Republicans—along with law enforcement officers, prosecutors, judges, victim service providers, faith leaders, health care professionals, advocates and survivors. 

“VAWA has attained such broad support because it’s worked.  Since it became law 18 years ago, domestic violence has decreased by 53%. And while incidents have gone down—reporting of violence and abuse have gone up.

“More victims are coming forward—and more women and families are getting the support and care they need to move themselves out of dangerous situations.

“As a result of the language in this law, every single state has made stalking a crime—and they have all strengthened criminal rape statutes. 

“Madam President—we’ve made a lot of progress since 1994—but we have a long way to go.

“Every single minute, 24 people across America are victims of violence by an intimate partner—more than 12 million every year. 45% of the women killed in this country die at the hands of their partner. And in one day last year, victims of domestic violence made more than 10,000 requests for services and support that couldn’t be met because programs simply didn’t have the resources.

“That’s why I was proud to cosponsor and strongly support the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act. And it’s why I join my colleagues today in expressing our hope that we can move this critical legislation when possible.

“This is a bipartisan bill that will advance our efforts to combat domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assaults, and stalking.

“It will give law enforcement agencies the support they need to enforce and prosecute these crimes.

“And it will give communities and non-profits the much-needed resources to support victims of violence—and most importantly—to keep working to stop violence before it ever starts.

“Madam President—this bill was put together in a bipartisan fashion. It’s supported by hundreds of national and local organizations that deal with this issue every day. It consolidates programs to reduce administrative costs.  It adds accountability to make sure taxpayer money is well-spent. It builds on what works in the current law—improves what doesn’t—it will help our country continue on the path of reducing violence toward women.

“And Madam President—it certainly shouldn’t be controversial.

“We reauthorized this law last time here in the Senate unanimously, by voice vote.  And President Bush signed it into law with Democrats standing behind him.

“So I’m hopeful the bipartisan approach to this issue continues as we work to reauthorize the law once again.  Because Madam President—this one shouldn’t be about politics.  Protecting women against violence shouldn’t be a partisan issue. 

“So I want to thank the Democrats and Republicans who have worked together to write this bill.  I am very glad it passed through committee.  I stand ready to support this bill when it comes to the floor. And I truly hope we can get it to President Obama for his signature in a timely fashion—so women and families across America can get the resources and support this law will deliver.

“Finally, Madam President—many of us women have come to the floor over the last few weeks to fight back against attempts to turn back the clock when it comes to women’s health care.

“I’m disappointed these issues kept coming up—but I know I stand with millions of men and women across America who remain ready to defend the gains we’ve made over the last 50 years.

“And who think we should be moving forward—protecting and supporting more women and families—and not moving backwards.

“Thank you. I yield the floor.”