Rep. Miller Statement on Passage of Measure Protecting Victims of Domestic Violence
May 17th, 2012
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U.S. Representative Candice Miller (MI-10) today made the following comments on the Floor of the U.S. House of Representatives in support of H.R. 4970, reauthorization of the Violence Against Women’s Act (VAWA). Rep. Miller said: “For several years, I had the great honor to serve on the board of my local domestic violence safe house. I have seen personally women and children who so desperately needed that safe haven to escape from a cycle of violence. Throughout my service in Congress, I have consistently fought to make certain that support is there for all such safe houses across my district. Those women and all victims of domestic violence who far too often suffer in silence need to know that they are not alone. There are people who care. “Today this House is doing what we need to do by taking a stand in defense of those who face the danger of domestic violence by passing this reauthorization. I certainly applaud the author of this bill, Representative Sandy Adams from Florida, who really has kept politics away from crafting this bill and instead focus squarely on protecting the victims of domestic violence. The bill we are debating here produces funding at the same level as the one passed by the Senate, but allocates that funding in a way that I think better supports the victims of domestic violence. “This bill doesn’t make special carve outs for any particular victim group, because it protects everyone equally. It includes outstanding revisions developed by listening to those involved in protecting victims from across the nation; It strengthens penalties for sexual assault and abuse; It improves federal stalking laws; It helps young women in college by working to prevent violence on our campuses through improved education programs; And it dramatically improves emergency and transitional housing services. As well, the Senate bill mirrors current law which only mandates 40% of the funding in the DNA Analysis Backlog Elimination Act of 2000 to address the backlog of rape testing kits which are required to successfully prosecute rape cases — our bill mandates that 75% of funding be used for that purpose so we can eliminate the backlog that exists and put rapists where they belong – in prison. I’m proud to have supported this measure for women in need and all victims of violence.” Background: Enacted in 1994, VAWA provides federal funding for programs and organizations that help assist women who are victims of domestic abuse, stalking, and sexual assault. The Act establishes a number of grant programs within the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for state, local, and tribal governments and victim service providers. The House-passed bill, H.R. 4970, would reauthorize funding for VAWA grant programs for five years, and would provide more than $660 million in funding per year to help prevent domestic violence and protect victims of abuse. The bill would make several key improvements to current law and S. 1925, including nearly doubling resources for eliminating the backlog of unprocessed rape evidence kits and cracking down on the fraud identified in the immigration program. H.R. 4970 would reauthorize funding at the same levels as the Senate bill for five years, while consolidating certain grants, streamlining the process, and ensuring that tax dollars are spent more efficiently.