Urge Congress to Save the Violence Against Women Act and Millions of Victims it Protects

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Every day, Haven Hills opens its doors to women and men and children who are suffering emotionally and physically from the devastating effects of domestic violence and are in desperate need of our help. They are the victims who are brave enough to make the call, to ask for help, and to escape. There are many more who never report the abuse, and many others who never make it out alive.

I'm the executive director of Haven Hills, one of the oldest and largest Domestic Violence Organizations in Los Angeles. Every year, through our 24-Hour Crisis Line and our Emergency and Transitional Housing units, we provide safety, shelter and support to more than 3,500 victims of Domestic Violence.

And every year, we struggle to make ends meet, to bring in enough funding to keep the lights on, to keep the crisis lines staffed, and to keep our highly trained counselors working to break the cycle abuse and to help our victims become strong, self-reliant, successful survivors.

Now the incoming administration, looking to dramatically reduce federal spending, is threatening across-the-board budget cuts that would cripple many government programs that serve victims of domestic violence - including the elimination or radical reduction of everything from free legal aid to heating assistance for those living in poverty.  

The National Network to End Domestic Violence estimates that if the proposed cuts are applied across the board, approximately 260,000 fewer victims nationwide would be able to access shelters and supportive services each year.

Even more devastating is the projected impact these draconian cuts would have on the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which funds specialized services such as safe shelters, legal counseling, transportation and child care as well as training for law enforcement, and prevention and education.

For more than two decades, the Violence Against Women Act has been our mainstay - one the most effective and stabilizing government programs for Domestic Violence organizations on record.  Putting the VAWA's grants for vital services on the chopping block is a serious mistake -  it would most certainly put the lives of those experiencing Domestic Violence in danger because they will have fewer resources to escape their abusers.

The statistics are staggering.  According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Bureau of Justice Statistics: National Crime Victimization Survey:

  • 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men in America have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner.
  • Domestic Violence hotlines receive more than 21,000 calls daily, approximately 15 calls every minute.
  • 15 million American children live in families in which domestic violence occurred in the past year.
  • Every year, 4,000 victims of domestic violence are killed.
  • Nearly one-third of the women who seek care from hospital emergency rooms are there for injuries resulting from domestic violence.
  • The presence of a gun in the home during a domestic violence incident increases the risk of homicide by at least 500 percent.

There are approximately 2,000 Domestic Violence organizations and shelters in the U.S.  There are millions of Americans who have been victims of Domestic Violence themselves - and tens of millions who know family members, friends, co-workers and neighbors who have suffered the devastating impact of intimate partner violence.

We all must join together and implore the U.S. Congress not to cut funding or destroy the Violence Against Women Act.

Join us by signing this petition and calling on your Senators and Representatives to save the Violence Against Women Act and the millions of victims it protects.

Iliana Tavera
Executive Director, Haven Hills
Los Angeles, CA



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