VICTORY ON THE VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN OFFICE

On May 1, 2002, by an overwhelming vote of 416 to 3, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a Motion to Instruct the Conferees of H.R. 2215 to combine the House and Senate versions of the Violence Against Women Office Act to create a strong Violence Against Women Office.

The Violence Against Women Office was created in 1995 to implement the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 and to lead the national effort to stop domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. But the office was never statutorily authorized â" making its future and its role in the Department of Justice uncertain. The Motion serves as guidance to the Conferees of H.R. 2215 but it is still up to the Conferees to produce the language of the final authorizing statute.While the passage of the VAWO Act in both the House and the Senate was a major victory, the job is not finished until the differences between the House and Senate bills are resolved in a manner that insures the effectiveness of the Office. As former Director of VAWO Bonnie Campbell stated in her testimony before the House Judiciary Committeeâ™s Crime Subcommittee in March, "If you believe that Violence Against Women is a serious issue, then give it the priority and authority it needs to do its work." We will keep you informed as things progress.

To read Congressional Testimony from "Leading the Fight: The Violence Against Women Office" before the Senate Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs on April 16, 2002 go to http://www.senate.gov/%7Ejudiciary/hearing.cfm?id=228.