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Domestic violence inexcusable

The Aberdeen Times of Aberdeen, Idaho

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In Idaho, the state police reported 5,669 cases of intimate partner violence in 2013. These are inexcusable acts of violence, but because they often happen behind closed doors, the brutality becomes shrouded in statistics.

This year, marks the anniversary of some important laws that have helped increase access to the tools necessary to help end domestic violence. This includes the 30th anniversary of enactment of the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA), the 30th anniversary of the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) and the 20th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

Early last year, I partnered with Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) in authoring the VAWA reauthorization legislation to strengthen programs and policies meant to prevent domestic and sexual violence and ensure continued services for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. The law includes new protections for all victims of domestic violence while providing for the consolidation of programs to reduce administrative costs and duplication and adding new accountability measures to help ensure that VAWA funds are used more effectively.

Domestic violence is brutal. It cannot be excused nor justified. The Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence, reports that daily approximately 520 Idaho victims of domestic violence and their children seek safety and services from community domestic violence programs. In 2013, there were 14 domestic violence-related fatalities in Idaho, and five domestic violence-related victims have died so far this year. One domestic violence or sexual assault is too many. As a society, we must make clear to abusers that it will not be tolerated, and we need to help victims understand it is not their fault and they do not have to put up with it.

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Original Publication Date: September 24, 2014

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