PRESS: Murphy Applauds Passage of Bipartisan VAWA Reauthorization
Congressman Patrick E. Murphy (D-Jupiter) made the following statement applauding the passage of the bipartisan "Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act." Following an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 78-22 in the Senate two weeks ago, Rep. Murphy voted in favor of the legislation, which the House passed today by a vote of 286-138.
"For the past 19 years since this legislation was first passed, it has saved lives and shaped the way we as a society have responded to domestic violence and to the abuse of the most vulnerable among us. In Florida in 2011 alone, there were over 111,000 domestic violence offenses reported and over 68,000 arrests made related to domestic violence crimes. This legislation is critical to protecting women from abuse and reducing incidents of domestic violence and I was proud to see its reauthorization receive such broad bipartisan support.
"Protecting women from violence is not a partisan issue and it was beyond disappointing to see this crucial legislation fall victim to partisan gridlock in the 112th Congress, causing it to expire over 500 days ago. I am proud to be a part of the 113th Congress which today made it known that we will put partisanship aside and the American people first in righting the wrong of allowing critical legislation such as VAWA to expire due to political gamesmanship in the last Congress."
The "Violence Against Women Act" was first passed in 1994, and has been renewed with strong bipartisan support every Congress, up until the 112th. Thanks to this legislation, every state has enacted laws to make stalking a crime and strengthened criminal rape statutes. Since it became law, the annual incidence of domestic violence has dropped more than 50 percent – and reporting of domestic violence has increased as much as 51 percent. Prior to its passage, Rep. Murphy was a proud cosponsor of the "Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act," and signed onto a letter urging House Leadership to take up the bipartisan, Senate-passed bill to reauthorize this important legislation. Nationally, three out of every ten women and one out of every ten men experience stalking, physical violence, or rape by a partner. In Florida in 2011, there were 192 deaths relating to domestic violence which accounted for over 19 percent of all homicides that year in the state.