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Congresswoman Clarke’s Statement on the 20th Anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act

Brooklyn, N.Y. – Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke released the following statement to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), a law that has substantially reduced domestic violence in the United States.  

The act has increased penalties for repeat sex offenders, created a federal rape shield law, increased rates of prosecution, conviction, and sentencing of offenders by helping communities develop dedicated domestic violence units, and provided training for more than half a million law enforcement officers, prosecutors, judges, and other personnel every year. When the law was reauthorized in 2013, protections for women who lack legal status and women on Indian reservations were included.

“Since the enactment of the Violence Against Women Act, domestic violence has declined by about two-thirds, and more victims are reporting incidents of domestic violence to authorities,” said Congresswoman Clarke. “The law has been a success. As with domestic violence, many of our institutions have ignored the problem of sexual assault. But we have a responsibility to build on the success of VAWA by requiring colleges, the branches of our armed forces, and local law enforcement agencies to prevent sexual assault. We cannot continue to ignore this crisis. I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress and with President Obama to end sexual assault and domestic violence.”

U.S. Representative Yvette D. Clarke is a member of the House Committee on Small Business, Ethics, and Homeland Security, where she is the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies. She represents many neighborhoods in central and southern Brooklyn, NY which include Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Flatbush, Gerritsen Beach, Madison, Midwood, parts of Park Slope and Flatlands, Prospect Heights, Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, Sheepshead Bay, and Windsor Terrace.