Tester backs effort to prevent violence against women

Senator’s bill improves prevention, enforcement

(GREAT FALLS, Mont.) – Senator Jon Tester is supporting a new effort aimed at preventing violence against women in Montana and nationwide.

Tester is backing the bipartisan Violence Against Women Act, which strengthens states’ efforts to enforce laws that protect women, prosecute perpetrators, and provide survivors with services.  The bill supports existing state plans that curb domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking.

“This bill protects and empowers women by giving law enforcement, our courts, and service providers the tools they need,” Tester said.  “I expect Congress to stand up for women and approve this measure in short order.”

Tester’s bill also specifically addresses needs in Indian Country, where violence rates are higher than the rest of Montana.  It also expands the definition of sexual assault.

“The Montana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and our victim service programs throughout Montana, appreciate Senator Tester stepping up for Montana women,” said Kelsen Young, the coalition’s executive director.  “Strengthening the Violence Against Women Act is essential to helping our programs provide life-saving services to victims of these devastating crimes.  Senator Tester’s efforts to address violence against women, particularly against native women, continue to make a big difference in Montana.”

The Violence Against Women Act provides more than $4 million for 50 anti-violence initiatives across Montana.  The bill also consolidates programs to reduce administrative costs and add efficiency.

Funds would distributed by the Montana Board of Crime Control. 

Tester is also a supporter of the SAVE Native Women Act that helps tribes provide more flexible services and resources to women affected by violence.  Along with the Violence Against Women Act, it awaits a vote in the Senate. 

Tester’s bipartisan bill is available online HERE.