Good News: We are taking violence against women more seriously

30 06 2009

I was alerted about this good news via the Safer Blog – The Senate Appropriations Committee recently past its FY 2010 appropriations bill for various government agencies.  In total, the bill designates $64.9 billion in discretionary spending which is an increase of around $7.3 billion over last year and $200 million more than the President’s budget request.

The Committee appropriated $435 million for the Office of Violence Against Women INCLUDING $15 million for the Sexual Assault Services Program, which is $2 million more than what was provided in the house bill.

This is super exciting!  Highlights of this bill include $9.5 million for Campus Grants, $45 million for Civil Legal Assistance, $3.5 million for Advocates for Youth, and $3 million for Engaging Men and Boys.

This progress was made possible by the hard work of advocates and activists.  It’s up to us and them to make sure that when President Obama signs the final appropriations bill the numbers don’t decrease.

Adding on to this piece of uplifting news is an older tidbit of information – last Friday, Vice President Joe Biden appointed Lynn Rosenthal as the new White House Adviser on Violence Against Women.  This position is newly created and super important because violence against women is an issue that is often not taken seriously enough.

Rosenthal will essentially act as a liaison to the domestic violence and sexual assault advocacy community, work with the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women to implement VAWA (Violence Against Women) programs and services, work with the Department of Health and Human Services on implementing Family Violence Prevention Act programs and services, work with the State Department and US AID on global domestic violence efforts, and spearhead the development of new programs and policies that address domestic violence and sexual assault.

Rosenthal has worked hard throughout her life on the community level, the state level, and the federal level to make sure that violence against women is sufficiently addressed and acted upon, and that perpetrators are held accountable instead of just getting off scot-free.  Most recently she served as the Executive Director of the New Mexico Coalition Against Domestic Violence.  She also served as the Executive Director of the National Network to End Domestic Violence from 2000 to 2006.

Senior Adviser and Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Relations and Public Engagement Valerie Jarrett said, “Lynn Rosenthal has been a life-long advocate for women and she has been a real leader in developing effective policies to combat domestic violence.”



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