The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) Board of Directors passed a resolution recognizing and honoring 25 years of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and support for its reauthorization.
On September 13, 1994, VAWA was enacted to address congressional concerns about violent crime, particularly crimes against women associated with domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. VAWA allowed for enhanced sentencing of repeat federal sex offenders, mandated restitution to victims of specified federal sex offenses, and authorized grants to state, local, and tribal law enforcement entities to investigate and prosecute violent crimes against women.
“The programs supported by VAWA and the Office on Violence Against Women are essential to the justice system’s response to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking,” said Joey Orduna Hastings, NCJFCJ CEO. “In the 25 years since its enactment, VAWA has aligned with the NCJFCJ’s mission to provide all judges, courts, and related agencies involved with juvenile, family, and domestic violence cases with the knowledge and skills to improve the lives of families and children who seek justice.”
The NCJFCJ has joined in public and private partnerships to advance social change in courts and communities across the country to enhance the safety, wellbeing, and stability of domestic violence survivors and their children through judicial education, technical assistance, and policy development.
“The NCJFCJ has issued resolutions in support of VAWA’s reauthorizations in 1999, 2001, and 2017 and strongly supports the reauthorization of the bipartisan Violence Against Women Act of 2019,” said Hastings. “H.R. 1585 includes critical improvements to existing law and invests in prevention, access to justice for Native survivors, protections for victims of dating violence and stalking, enforcement of court orders, and safe housing for survivors.”
Supported by VAWA, the NCJFCJ’s National Judicial Institute on Domestic Violence (NJIDV), in partnership Futures Without Violence, has provided judicial officers from all 50 states and territories with a highly interactive, skills-based domestic violence workshop since 1999. Since then, NJIDV has developed a continuum of judicial education that currently includes three variations of the Judicial Cases Workshop, with one focusing on cases dealing with abuse in later life, faculty development, judicial roundtables, and technical assistance for state and regional adaptations of the NJIDV curriculum.
“It is essential that judges and court personnel receive appropriate training and education in order to understand the dynamics of violence in the home and the impact that has on the behaviors and actions of individuals who come into our courtrooms,” said Judge Ramona A. Gonzalez, NCJFCJ president.
“While perpetrators must be held accountable, judges must also understand and work with community partners to provide services and support to victims as well as those around them that witness violence in the home – most notably children – to keep them safe, free from trauma and productive members of the community,” said Gonzalez. “And it is through the Violence Against Women Act, which provides resources to support research, training, evidence-based practice, and a coordinated community response, that I, and my colleagues around the country, are able to achieve this.”
About the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ):
Founded in 1937, the Reno, Nev.-based National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, is the nation’s oldest judicial membership organization and focused on improving the effectiveness of our nation’s juvenile and family courts. A leader in continuing education opportunities, research, and policy development in the field of juvenile and family justice, the 2,000-member organization is unique in providing practice-based resources to jurisdictions and communities nationwide.