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Senators' vote on domestic violence bill disappointing

May 30, 2012 - Suzan Campbell, Wyoming Coalition Against DV/SA, Laramie

Editor:

The Wyoming Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, a coalition of 24 domestic violence and sexual assault programs in the state, is deeply disappointed that U.S. Sens. Mike Enzi and John Barrasso voted against the bipartisan reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), S. 1925, which passed the Senate on a 68-31 vote on April 26.

This modest bill would sustain lifesaving laws and initiatives that are at the heart of our nation's response to domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and dating violence. Law enforcement and prosecutors rely on this legislation to combat these heinous crimes -- to protect victims and hold perpetrators accountable.

Victims desperately need the core services authorized by VAWA to keep them safe and help them heal. S. 1925 builds on VAWA's successes and includes new provisions that ensure that the most vulnerable victims are protected.

VAWA supports formula funds to Wyoming programs that provide direct services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking; provides funds to train law enforcement officers, prosecutors and judges and supports culturally specific set- asides for underserved populations.

Now, as more and more victims are coming forward for help, just as there are fewer resources and waiting lists for services, it is absolutely essential that our national leaders support this vital legislation.

Sen. Enzi historically has been a strong supporter of issues affecting victims and their children but in this instance Senators Enzi and Barrasso chose to vote against this vital, necessary, bipartisan legislation which is a vote against victims, whether the victim be male or female.

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