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Senate Passed Historic Funding Levels for Federal Violence Against Women Programs

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Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee Chairwoman, Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) today announced a critical step forward in putting $418.5 million in funding for programs administered by the Department of Justice’s Violence Against Women Office in the federal checkbook.

These funds are included in the CJS Appropriations Bill, which was approved on Sunday, Dec. 13 by the Senate for a final time as part of Congress’ Fiscal Year 2010 Consolidated Appropriations Bill. It now goes to the President to be signed into law.

“When we fought for the Violence Against Women Act, it was not an unfunded mandate. I led the fight to put these programs in the federal law books, and I will continue to fight to put the funding they need in the federal checkbook,” Chairwoman Mikulski said. “I have absolutely no tolerance for domestic violence. That’s why I strongly support legislation and grant programs that help protect women and their families from continued violence and abuse, and gives them the tools they need to rebuild their lives.”

This funding will support programs authorized through the VAWA, which Senator Mikulski helped pass into law. Six additional VAWA programs are administered by the Office of Justice Programs and funded at the same level as fiscal year 2009.  This brings the total funding in fiscal year 2010 for VAWA programs to a record $444.5 million, a $29.5 million increase over last year.

Domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking are crimes of epidemic proportions, exacting terrible costs on individual lives and our communities. Twenty-five percent of U.S. women report that they have been physically assaulted by an intimate partner during their lifetimes, one in six have been the victims of attempted or completed rape. The cost of domestic violence exceeds $5.8 billion each year.

The CJS bill funds multiple competitive grant programs that support training for police officers and prosecutors; state domestic violence and sexual assault coalition grants; rape prevention programs; national domestic violence hotlines; grants for battered women’s shelters and transitional housing support services; victims of child abuse grants; and funding for counselors of rape victims during trials.

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