April 26, 2012

Manchin to Vote to Protect Women and Children Against Violence

As cosponsor of Violence Against Women Act, Manchin urges reauthorization of legislation to protect women and children against violence

Watch Senator Manchin speak on the Senate floor here:

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) today emphasized the critical importance of reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, legislation that the West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence has called the “most critical piece of legislation affecting the safety of survivors of domestic violence and their children in every county of West Virginia.”
Senator Manchin, a cosponsor of the Violence Against Women Act, delivered a speech on the Senate floor today supporting the measure. The Senate is expected to vote on final passage of the bill later today.

“Once again, for each and every member of the Senate who will cast a vote on this bill, the question comes down to this: what is it that we truly value? What are our priorities?” Senator Manchin said. “Ensuring that women and children have adequate protection against violence just makes common sense. And to the people of West Virginia, I know this is a high priority.” 

Countless West Virginians reached out to share women’s stories, emphasize the proven success of the Violence Against Women Act and highlight the need to continue to fund such a high priority. 

For example, Sue Julian and Tonia Thomas, team coordinators from the West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence, called the legislation essential:
“The Violence Against Women Act is the most critical piece of federal legislation affecting the safety of survivors of domestic violence and their children in every county of West Virginia. [The law] supports cost effective responses to the pervasive and insidious crimes of domestic violence. VAWA funds innovative, successful programs that are at the core of our nation’s response to domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking. Action taken at the congressional level to end violence against women, children, and men echoes through the hills and hollows of the most remote communities in this state. Without VAWA, the collaborative efforts of law enforcement, prosecution, victim advocates, and judicial personnel would be fragmented, compartmentalized, and at worst counterproductive to each other. VAWA saves lives, changes communities, offers safety and creates channels of hope.”
Organizations like the West Virginia Foundation for Rape and Information Services – which works on the front lines with victims in West Virginia – have shared the importance of VAWA funding that supports various grant programs in the state.
These include:

  • The Services-Training-Officers-Prosecutors (STOP) Grant Program, which is the primary grant program used to address crimes of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking by allowing states to allocate the funds to providers at their own discretion;

  • The Sexual Assault Services Program, which has allowed West Virginia to significantly expand services to victims of sexual assault;

  • Legal Assistance for Victims (LAV), a highly competitive program that seeks to make legal assistance available to victims of violence and sexual assault;

  • Rural Enforcement Assistance Grants, which were established to address unique challenges faced in rural jurisdictions, including resources for victims in remote and geographically isolated areas who face barriers to accessing services. The rural grant program has allowed the state to provide fulltime advocacy for sexual assault victims in seven rural counties in West Virginia; and

  • The ARREST Grant Program, which seeks to help state and local governments and agencies investigate and prosecute instances of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking, and treat them as serious crimes.


  • Since the Violence Against Women Act first passed in 1994, the law has reduced domestic violence by more than 50 percent through the critical programs it funds.

  • According to the West Virginia Foundation for Rape Information and Services – West Virginia’s sexual assault coalition – one in six women in West Virginia will be a victim of attempted or completed rape.

  • According to the West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence, on any given day, licensed domestic violence programs in West Virginia provide services to nearly 600 women, children and men.
    • Every seven minutes, a call is made to a domestic violence hotline in West Virginia.

    • One-third of homicides in West Virginia are related to domestic violence.

    • More than two-thirds of women murdered in West Virginia are killed by a member of their family or a member of their household.

    • In 2010, there were 11,174 investigations into domestic violence allegations in West Virginia, which required 272,450 hours of law enforcement involvement.