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Grassley, Feinstein, Ernst, Durbin Introduce Resolution Recognizing National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) introduced a resolution designating October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

“Unfortunately, too many Americans face violence and abuse from within their own home. It’s critical that we continue to amplify the voices of victims and survivors, and assure them that they are not alone. By shining a light on these despicable crimes we encourage other victims and survivors to boldly share their stories. This bipartisan resolution works to raise awareness on the issue of domestic violence and highlight the important role our first responders, advocates and other domestic violence service providers play in supporting those who have been affected by abuse at home,” Grassley said.

We passed the bipartisan Violence Against Women Act reauthorization earlier this year but we must do more to break the cycle of abuse that traps too many individuals, especially women. National Domestic Violence Awareness Month encourages survivors to share their stories so that others will know they’re not alone. It’s my hope that our resolution will raise awareness and encourage more people to come forward so their abusers can be held accountable,” Feinstein said.

“In order to raise greater awareness, curb these tragic events, and help my fellow survivors overcome long-lasting trauma, I’m proud to join with Democrats and Republicans in recognizing October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month,” Ernst said.

“For many Americans, home is not always a safe place. Every victim and survivor of domestic violence deserves support, whether they live in a rural area like Carbondale or an urban area like Chicago, in a moment of crisis. Earlier this year, Congress came together on a bipartisan basis to reauthorize VAWA and extend resources to survivors. This resolution will help raise awareness and remind survivors that they are not alone,” Durbin said.

 

Full text of the resolution is available here and below.

 

Supporting the goals and ideals of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

 

Whereas, according to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey—

  1. up to 12,000,000 individuals in the United States report experiencing intimate partner violence annually, including physical violence, rape, or stalking; and
  2. approximately 1 in 5 women in the United States and up to 1 in 7 men in the United States have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetimes;

 

Whereas, on average, 3 women in the United States are killed each day by a current or former intimate partner, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics;

 

Whereas domestic violence can affect anyone, but women who are 18 to 34 years of age typically experience the highest rates of domestic violence;

 

Whereas survivors of domestic violence are strong, courageous, and resilient;

 

Whereas most female victims of intimate partner violence have been victimized by the same offender previously;

 

Whereas domestic violence is cited as a significant factor in homelessness among families;

 

Whereas millions of children are exposed to domestic violence each year;

 

Whereas a study has found that children who were exposed to domestic violence in their households were 15 times more likely to be physically or sexually assaulted in their lifetime than other children who were not exposed to domestic violence in their households;

 

Whereas victims of domestic violence experience immediate and long-term negative outcomes, including detrimental effects on mental and physical health;

 

Whereas research consistently shows that being abused by an intimate partner increases an individual’s likelihood of substance use as well as associated harmful consequences;

 

Whereas victims of domestic violence may lose several days of paid work each year and may lose their jobs due to reasons stemming from domestic violence;

 

Whereas crisis hotlines serving domestic violence victims operate 24 hours per day, 365 days per year, and offer important crisis intervention services, support services, information, and referrals for victims;

 

Whereas staff and volunteers of domestic violence shelters and programs in the United States, in cooperation with 56 State and territorial coalitions against domestic violence, provide essential services to—

  1. thousands of adults and children each day; and
  2. 1,000,000 adults and children each year;

 

Whereas domestic violence programs and hotlines have seen a substantial increase in contacts since 2020, and continue to experience a surge in requests for services, with the National Domestic Violence Hotline averaging approximately 2,600 daily contacts in 2022, up from 800 to 1,200 average daily contacts before the COVID–19 pandemic;

 

Whereas nearly 85 percent of American Indian and Alaska Native women have experienced some form of intimate partner violence in their lifetime;

 

Whereas respondents to a survey of domestic violence programs reported that survivors of domestic violence often face financial challenges, with 8,000,000 days of paid work lost each year due to intimate partner violence;

 

Whereas medical professionals have reported that survivors of domestic violence are presenting with more severe injuries during the pandemic;

 

Whereas domestic violence programs have changed the way they provide services in response to the COVID–19 pandemic;

 

Whereas advocates for survivors of domestic violence and survivors face the same challenges with child care and facilitating online learning that others do;

 

Whereas, according to a 2021 survey conducted by the National Network to End Domestic Violence, 70,032 domestic violence victims were served by domestic violence shelters and programs around the United States in a single day;

 

Whereas some victims of domestic violence face additional challenges in accessing law enforcement and services due to conditions specific to the communities in which they live;

 

Whereas law enforcement officers in the United States put their lives at risk each day by responding to incidents of domestic violence, which can be among the most volatile and deadly calls;

 

Whereas Congress first demonstrated a significant commitment to supporting victims of domestic violence with the enactment of the landmark Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (42 U.S.C. 10401 et seq.);

 

Whereas Congress has remained committed to protecting survivors of all forms of domestic violence and sexual abuse by making Federal funding available to support the activities that are authorized under—

  1. the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (42 U.S.C. 10401 et seq.);
  2. the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (34 U.S.C. 12291 et seq.); and
  3. the VOCA Fix to Sustain the Crime Victims Fund Act of 2021 (Public Law 117–27; 135 Stat. 301);

 

Whereas there is a need to continue to support programs and activities aimed at domestic violence intervention and domestic violence prevention in the United States;

 

Whereas domestic violence programs provide trauma-informed services to protect the safety, privacy, and confidentiality of survivors of domestic violence; and

 

Whereas individuals and organizations that are dedicated to preventing and ending domestic violence should be recognized: Now, therefore, be it

 

Resolved, That—

  1. the Senate—
    1. supports the goals and ideals of “National Domestic Violence Awareness Month”;
    2. commends domestic violence victim advocates, domestic violence victim service providers, crisis hotline staff, and first responders serving victims of domestic violence, for their compassionate support of survivors of domestic violence; and
    3. recognizes the strength and courage of survivors of domestic violence; and
  2. it is the sense of the Senate that Congress should—
    1. continue to raise awareness of—
      1. domestic violence in the United States; and
      2. the corresponding devastating effects of domestic violence on survivors, families, and communities; and
    2. pledge continued support for programs designed to—
      1. assist survivors of domestic violence;
      2. hold perpetrators of domestic violence accountable; and
      3. bring an end to domestic violence.
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