Senator Joe Biden sponsored the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) which was signed into law by President Bill Clinton.
We’re in dire need of judicial reform. A post on the Women’s Law Project blog reports on how a judge in Milwaukee, Wisconsin invalidated a voter-approved paid leave for victims of domestic violence:
Domestic violence constitutes just as much of a threat to the health and safety of all its victims as a serious illness does. To ignore, diminish, or brush aside this fact is an insult to every woman who lives in justified fear of what her husband might do next. When a woman knows that she needs to seek shelter, or go to court, in order to prevent her abuser from harming her or her children, she should not have to gamble her job against her life. There is absolutely no reason she should not be allowed to use a paid sick day in such a situation. [emphasis added]
A Mom’s Random Mind who writes about two guys who went to court. One guy got jailed for a speeding ticket. The other guy walked away from domestic violence charges because there weren’t enough judges to hear his case. She wants to know why we aren’t raising more hell.
After you get angry, I hope you’ll take action. How?
Senator Biden is now our Vice President. This means we have a powerful ally in Washington, D.C.
Change happens when vocal lobbyists and concerned citizens band together to demand VAWA funding. When you look at the list of available grants, you will see a list of various groups who lobbied for and got funding for projects important to them. VAWA funding is allocated by the US Department of Justice’s VAW office. You can read about the effectiveness of their programs in their Report to Congress.
STOP Grants are available to prosecutors and courts. Each state gets $600,000 in funding to implement the current priorities:
The emphasis of the STOP Program continues to be the implementation of comprehensive strategies to address violence against women that prioritize the needs and safety of victims and hold offenders accountable for their crimes. States and territories should seek to carry out these strategies by forging lasting partnerships between advocates, other victim service providers, and the criminal justice system.
They should also encourage communities to expand traditional resources and partners and respond more vigorously to domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking crimes.
States are encouraged to develop and support projects that:
- Prioritize support for programs that address sexual assault and stalking, including the development and implementation of protocols; training for judges, other court personnel, prosecutors, and law enforcement; and the development of coordinated community responses to violence against women.
- Enhance or strengthen Statewide collaboration efforts among law enforcement, prosecution, nonprofit, nongovernmental victim advocacy and service providers, and the courts in addressing violence against women.
- Implement community-driven initiatives, utilizing faith-based and community organizations, to address the needs of underserved populations as defined by VAWA, including people with disabilities and elder victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking.
If the courts in your jurisdiction remain clueless about domestic violence, you can ask your local officials and newspaper editors why judges and prosecutors haven’t been trained. You can also lobby for changes in the STOP grants’ priorities. And, you can lobby for new areas of funding.
This is how change happens.