Tester, Baucus hail passage of Violence Against Women Act

Senators give House of Representatives one more chance to protect Montana women

(U.S. SENATE) – Senators Jon Tester and Max Baucus today released the following statements after the U.S. Senate passed the Violence Against Women Act. The bill will reduce the rate of domestic and sexual violence against women and children while empowering survivors and holding offenders more accountable:

“Women and children should have every opportunity to lead full, safe and healthy lives, and this bill empowers our communities to protect all our citizens,” Tester said.  “Montana women and children cannot wait for the House of Representatives any longer.  It is now time for them to act on this responsible, bipartisan measure.”

“VAWA programs save lives and provide vital support for Montana women. We will not tolerate violence against our mothers, daughters and sisters and this bill helps us all do more to take a stand against violence,” said Baucus, who supported the original Violence Against Women Act in 1994.

There were almost 5,000 cases of domestic and sexual violence in Montana in 2011. The Senate last year passed the Violence Against Women Act with an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote, but the House of Representatives did not agree to it.

This year’s version of the legislation passed the Senate, 78-22, sending the measure to the House of Representatives.

The Violence Against Women Act provides resources to strengthen law enforcement and prosecution. It also expands the definition of domestic violence and increases support in Indian Country, where women suffer from violent crime three and a half times the national average.

Since the Violence Against Women Act was enacted in 1994, the annual rate of domestic violence has dropped more than 50 percent. The bill, which also addresses domestic and sexual violence against men, was reauthorized in 2000 and 2005.