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State Senator

Mae Flexer

Representing Brooklyn, Canterbury, Killingly, Mansfield, Putnam, Scotland, Thompson & Windham

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Flexer, Blumenthal, Advocates & Survivors Call for Action on Federal Violence Against Women Act

Act set to expire on December 7, 2018

On the last day of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Senator Mae Flexer (D-Danielson), joined U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, several state women’s organizations and survivors at a press conference yesterday to call on congress to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) before it expires on December 7, 2018.

“The Violence Against Women Act currently helps thousands of victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in Connecticut by providing critical services like domestic violence shelters, 24-hour crisis response, legal services, medical care, emotional support, and more,” Sen. Flexer said. “In this moment in history when women are coming out and sharing their stories, it’s important that our leaders in Washington D.C. are listening and taking action. Any effort to roll back protections for LGBTQ+ victims, immigrant victims, and other special groups would be a giant step backward in this movement to protect all victims of domestic violence and sexual violence in our country. I am proud that Connecticut has some of the strongest laws against domestic violence and sexual assault. I have led the effort to pass many of these laws. They have passed with bipartisan support because domestic violence and sexual assault should always be taken seriously regardless of party. I hope that our counterparts in Washington D.C. can follow our lead.”

Connecticut agencies received approximately $3.6 million in grants through the act last year to provide critical services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. It also includes key provisions to hold offenders accountable.

“VAWA is the backbone of our nation’s support system for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, providing critical support to thousands of victims across Connecticut,” Sen. Blumenthal said. “There’s nothing partisan about violence against women, and Congress must come together to reauthorize VAWA before the December 7 deadline. It’s time to strengthen—not weaken—our support to the victims of domestic violence and sexual assault so that they and their families may have a chance to lead safe and productive lives. Thank you Senator Mae Flexer for being a relentless and fearless advocate on this issue.”

First authorized by Congress in 1994, VAWA has created a compre¬hensive response to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. As a result of this life-saving measure, community-based agencies have provided enhanced services that keep victims safe and the crimi¬nal justice system has held more offenders accountable for their actions. After lengthy inaction due to partisan gridlock, VAWA was finally reauthorized and signed into law on March 7, 2013. VAWA 2013 reauthorized and improved upon lifesaving services for all victims of domestic violence and included critical protections for immigrants, LGBT victims, Native women, college students and youth, and public housing residents.

Other speakers at today’s press conference included Adrienne W. Cochrane, J.D., CEO of YWCA Hartford Region; Karen Jarmoc, CEO of the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CCADV); Laura Cordes, Executive Director for the Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence; Mary-Jane Foster, President and CEO of Interval House; and Monique Faison Ross, a domestic violence survivor who received services as a result of the Violence Against Women Act.

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