January 23, 2012

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January 23, 2012

Delegate Lopez Calls Upon Virginia Attorney General Cuccinelli to Join 53 State and Territorial Attorneys General in Supporting the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act 

(Richmond) – Delegate Alfonso Lopez has called upon Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli to join 53 other State and Territorial Attorneys General in supporting the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). 

The National Association of Attorneys General sent a letter to Congress on January 11th, 2012, calling upon the U.S. House and Senate to quickly reauthorize VAWA.  The letter was signed by 53 state and territorial Attorneys General.  The letter was not signed by Virginia’s Attorney General – Ken Cuccinelli. 

Governor Bob McDonnell cited the following statistics when he named October 2010 Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Virginia: 

There were more than 63,000 calls to domestic and sexual violence hotlines across Virginia in 2009. 

More than 6,500 adults and children received almost 255,000 nights of emergency or temporary shelter due to domestic violence in 2009. 

More than 62,000 emergency, preliminary, and final protective orders were issued by magistrates and courts across the Commonwealth in 2009. 

Since it was first enacted in 1994, VAWA has transformed the response to domestic violence at the local, state and federal level, reducing domestic violence rates by 50 percent.  According to the National Association of Attorneys General, reauthorizing VAWA will not only permit critical services to victims to continue uninterrupted, but will also target three key areas where data shows that efforts should be focused to have the greatest impact:

  • Domestic violence, dating violence, and sexual assault are most prevalent among young women aged 16-24, with studies showing that youth attitudes are still largely tolerant of violence, and that women abused in adolescence are more likely to be abused again as adults.  More must be done to consolidate and strengthen programs aimed at both prevention and intervention.  
  • A woman who has been sexually assaulted can be subjected to further distress when the healthcare, law enforcement, and legal response to her attack is not coordinated and productive.  More must be done to develop and implement best practices, training and communication tools to prosecute and punish perpetrators, and help victims.  
  • There is a growing consensus among practitioners and researchers that domestic violence homicides are predictable and, therefore, often preventable.  More must be done to improve training for those who interact with victims to recognize the warning signs and react meaningfully. 

 Although much has been achieved since 1994, more needs to be done to ensure that we reduce domestic violence and protect women from sexual assault in the U.S. and in Virginia.  Reauthorizing VAWA makes it clear that we will not tolerate such acts of violence.  


Contact: Jason Stanford


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