U.S. Sen. Kay R. Hagan (D—N.C.) applauded the Senate Judiciary Committee for passing the bipartisan Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2011. The Act included Hagan’s Violence Against Women Health Initiative, intended to raise awareness of domestic violence among health care providers, allowing them to better assess and treat survivors of domestic violence.
“The rates of violence and abuse in our country are astounding and unacceptable, and I applaud the Judiciary Committee for making progress on the bipartisan Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act,” said Hagan. “Domestic violence is a threat to the health and well-being of our families and our children, and it costs our system over $8.3 billion annually. As a mother of two daughters, I was proud to include my Violence Against Women Health Initiative to streamline efforts to prevent and respond to domestic partner violence, and I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to take swift action on this very important bill.”
The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act will now move for consideration by the full Senate. Since its passage in 1994, the original Violence Against Women Act has transformed our criminal justice system and victim support system, helping to prevent and respond to intimate partner violence. This reauthorization strengthens and streamlines crucial existing programs and incorporates new approaches—such as Hagan’s bill—to more effectively combat domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking.
Hagan’s provision in the bill would consolidate the existing three health programs into one program while increasing evaluation and accountability. Hagan worked with the University of North Carolina at Greensboro on including the research portion of her bill. Specifically, her language would:
1. Foster public health responses to intimate partner violence and sexual violence;
2. Provide training and education of health professionals to respond to violence and abuse; and
3. Support research on effective public health approaches to end violence against women
Nearly one in four women in the U.S. has reported experiencing domestic violence at some point in her life. In 2007, there were 248,300 reported incidents of sexual assault in the United States. Young women experience the highest rates of sexual assault and stalking. And sadly, 15.5 million children in the United States live in families in which partner violence has occurred in the past year, with seven million children in families in which severe partner violence has occurred.
Domestic violence has a significant impact on our country’s health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, intimate partner violence costs the health care system over $8.3 billion annually.