Tahoe agencies meet with Sen. Dean Heller to advocate for VAWA | SierraSun.com

Tahoe agencies meet with Sen. Dean Heller to advocate for VAWA

Staff report

With the possibility that funding for the Violence Against Womens Act (VAWA) will be cut under the Trump Administration’s proposed federal budget, Northern Nevada organizations — including Tahoe SAFE Alliance, Safe Embrace, Live Violence Free, Tahoe Family Solutions and domestic violence advocates — assembled on Feb. 1 at Nevada Sen. Heller’s office in Reno to advocate for continued funding for VAWA.

According to a news release provided by TFS, VAWA administers 25 grant programs aimed at helping women and children who experience domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse.

Those grants funnel money to programs designed to develop the nation’s capacity to reduce domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking by strengthening services to victims and holding offenders accountable.

“Losing VAWA funding would be devastating for women and families regionally and nationally,” Paul Bancroft, Executive Director of Tahoe Safe Alliance, said in a provided statement. “Critical services like Transitional Housing, legal services and nurses trained to perform sexual assault exams would be lost.”

A report released by the Bureau of Justice Statistics showed that, in the decade-plus after the Violence Against Women Act passed in 1994, the overall rate of intimate partner violence in the United States declined by 64 percent.

“The availability of services and programs supported by VAWA funding could literally be the difference between life and death,” John Etchemendy, Executive Director of Safe Embrace, said in a statement. “This should be a red line; funding needs to be expanded — not cut. We need our Senators to stand up and fight for those victims. We need Senator Heller to be a leader.”

Visit nnedv.org/policy/issues/vawa.html to learn more about VAWA.