1994 – Violence Against Women Act is Passed

June 1, 2012


In honor of our 75th Anniversary, we're highlighting some ground-breaking events in the field of juvenile and family justice that have helped shape our organization's mission to provide every family and child with access to fair, equal, effective, and timely justice.

In 1990, then-Senator Joseph Biden of Delaware initiated a legislative effort to address the severity of crime against women. In 1994, after four years of intense research and debate, Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), the first comprehensive legislation focused on ending intimate partner violence. Some of the research that came to the attention of Congress between 1990 and 1994 included:

·         Intimate partner violence is the leading cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44 in the U.S.

·         In 1990 there were 1500 domestic violence shelters, compared to 3800 animal shelters.

·         Three to four million women in the U.S. are beaten in their homes every year by a current or former intimate partner (husband, boyfriend, lover, ex-husband, ex-boyfriend, ex-lover).

·         A woman is beaten every 15 seconds by an intimate partner.

·         One in every four women will experience intimate partner violence in her lifetime.

·         Police report that between 40% and 60% of the calls they receive are domestic violence disputes, particularly on the evening shift.

·         Battering tends to increase and intensify over time.

·         25% - 45% of all female victims of intimate partner violence are battered while pregnant.

·         One in six women has experienced an attempted rape in their lifetime.

·         Boys who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to become abusive toward their own intimate partners and children as an adult.

·         One in ten calls placed to law enforcement to inform them about family violence is made by a child in the home. One of every three abused children becomes an adult abuser or victim.

·         Women of all races are equally vulnerable to intimate partner violence.

·         74% of Americans know someone who is or has been a victim of intimate partner violence.

The importance of VAWA was accepted universally and was a bipartisan effort to address a major social issue. The heart of VAWA is funding for an improved criminal justice response and the provision of services for victims experiencing domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Other key components of the initial passage of VAWA included:

·         Education for advocates, law enforcement, health professionals, judges, and prosecutors.

·         The requirement for states and territories to enforce protection orders issued by other states, territories, and tribes.

·         Strengthening of federal penalties for repeat sexual offenders.

In congruence with the passage of VAWA, in 1994 Congress amended the 1968 Gun Control Act, making it a federal crime for individuals subject to a qualifying protection order to possess or ship a firearm or ammunition (18 U.S.C. 922 (g)(8)).

Despite the title, it is important to note that services funded under VAWA are not limited to women.  Although the title initiated in consideration of the fact that the vast majority of victims are women, support services have been improved since the original passage in 1994 to aid the number of victims who are men.

The passage of VAWA has significantly improved services for victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking. By 1999, the attitudinal individual and system changes stemming from the passage of VAWA were evident and laid the foundation for continued change to address domestic violence and sexual assault. Subsequent reauthorizations to VAWA in 2000 and 2005 demonstrated the bipartisan support of Congressional leaders in addressing this dangerous social issue.  These reauthorizations expanded services and emphasized the importance of establishing a coordinated community response to address issues of violence against intimate partners and children. 

Join us throughout the year as we highlight a selection of our greatest accomplishments, and don't miss our 75th Anniversary Celebration this July at our Annual Conference in New Orleans
Click here to view a timeline of significant events throughout our 75-year history.
If you're looking for another way to join the celebration, make a donation to the Council in any of our 75th Anniversary Diamond Recognition Levels:
Precious Diamond Jubilee Club - $75 donation - donor receives a "75th Anniversary Donor" ribbon, recognition on Council website and at events throughout the year, special recognition at 75th Anniversary Celebration
Brilliance Diamond Jubilee Club - $750 donation - donor receives donor pin with diamond embellishment, recognition on Council website and at events throughout the year, special recognition at 75th Anniversary Celebration (can be a one-time donation, or pledged over the course of 2012)
Flawless Diamond Jubilee Club - $7,500 - donor receives donor pin with diamond embellishment, personalized award honoring your generosity, recognition on Council website and at events throughout the year, special recognition at and complimentary admission to 75th Anniversary Celebration party (can be a one-time donation or pledged over the course of 5 years, at $1,500 a year)
*All donors will be recognized on our website, unless otherwise requested.
To donate to any of the Diamond Donor Club levels, visit our online donation page by clicking here, or please contact Letitia Jones at lejones@ncjfcj.org or call 775-784-6012.