Letter: Help protect women, children

Violence against women and children affects everyone in Lima and the surrounding areas in some way. In 1994, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was a giant step forward for our nation. Its passage meant that our federal government finally acknowledged that domestic and sexual violence cause tremendous harm, and put resources into helping victims. Millions of families are better off as a result.

I know many local organizations in the area work together to put an end to violence against women and Crime Victim Services is one of those. Without this legislation, we could not provide the same level of service to our clients that we currently offer. We help victims find safety, healing, justice and restitution through funding from VAWA.

The time has come to again reauthorize this critical legislation. Evidence shows that VAWA is working. Over the last 15 years, domestic and sexual violence have declined. But there is more work to do. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee has introduced a VAWA reauthorization that invests in prevention, increases access to safety and justice for Native women, and provides critical protections and services for all victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking.

We cannot afford to go backwards; every VAWA reauthorization has strengthened protections and services for victims and survivors, and the 2018 reauthorization cannot, must not be an exception. We must build on previous gains to protect all members of our community from violence.

Charlotte Powell, Crime Victim Services, Lima

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