Coalition Letter to Senate: VAWA & Youth

July 25, 2005

July 26, 2005

Dear Senator,

The National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women represents over 3,000 organizations that have been working with communities around the nation to prevent violence against women and understand the unmet needs of victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking, including children and youth who experience and witness these types of violence.

As organizations, agencies, schools, and others atuned to the unique needs of children, teens and young adults, we ask you to co-sponsor and actively support the swift passage of the “Violence Against Women Act of 2005” (S.1197). The bill was introduced by Representative Sensenbrenner, and has strong bipartisan support from other Representatives. This bill makes numerous improvements to the Violence Against Women Act, including critical changes that focus resources on preventing violence and providing services, protections and justice for young victims of violence.

Young people experience and witness violence at inordinately high rates and often face unique barriers in getting help to address it. For example:

  • Girls and young women between 16 and 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence;
  • In one year, over 4,000 incidents of rape and sexual assault occurred in public schools across the country;
  • Minors, under the age of 18, account for 67% of all sexual assaults reported to law enforcement;
  • In a college study, only 5% of all attempted or completed rapes were reported to law enforcement;
  • According to one study, 5% of abusive fathers threaten during visitation to kill the mother, 34% of abusive fathers threaten to kidnap their children and 25% threaten to hurt their children;
  • Up to 10 million children witness domestic violence every year and it has been demonstrated to significantly increase their risk of becoming both a victim and perpetrator of violence in adulthood.

The reauthorization of VAWA brings long-needed attention to this violence witnessed and experienced by children and youth.

Specifically, S. 1197 addresses these issues by:

  • Allocating $80 million each year (2006 – 2010) to the highly successful Rape Prevention and Education Program;
  • Providing $15 million each year in grants to provide specialized services to teens and young adults who are victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking;
  • Providing demonstration grants to courts to work with law enforcement, service providers, schools and others to develop policies and procedures to insure justice for young victims and perpetrators of violence;
  • Reauthorizing $20 million for “Safe Havens” which will protect children and parents from domestic and sexual violence during supervised child visitation and visitation exchanges;
  • Funding programs that provide services for children exposed to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking, which may include direct counseling, advocacy, or mentoring, and helps support their non-abusing parents as well;
  • Focuses new resources to engage men and boys as allies in preventing and ending domestic and sexual violence.

Additionally, S. 1197 provides funds for Grants for Training and Collaboration on the Intersection between Domestic Violence and Child Maltreatment, bringing together child welfare agencies, courts, domestic or dating violence service providers, law enforcement and other community organizations to enhance responses to families where there is both child abuse and neglect and dating or domestic violence. Other provisions focus on prevention, including programs that would support gender-specific messages and support for boys and girls who need information on positive, non-violent relationships. In addition, special attention is given to the needs of girls in the juvenile justice system, the overwhelming majority of whom are victims of abuse and violence. Provisions in S. 1197 direct states to use existing federal funds to provide services to meet girls’ needs, as well as prevent the disparate treatment of girls in the system.

Responding to children and youth who are victims or witnesses of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking is a critical step in increasing the safety of individuals and families. By including provisions to address violence affecting young people, this reauthorization of VAWA represents a big step forward toward stopping the violence. If you have any questions or would like more information about this legislation, please contact Juley Fulcher at Break The Cycle, Washington, DC ( 202.654.4039), Kiersten Stewart at the Family Violence Prevention Fund ( or Lucy Melvin at Girls Incorporated (

Thank you for your support on this critical piece of legislation!


Alliance for Children and Families
Alliance for Children and Families
American Association of University Women
American Institute on Domestic Violence
Arc and United Cerebral Palsy Disability Policy Collaboration
Association for Gender Equity Leadership in Education (AGELE)
Boat People SOS
Break The Cycle
Child Welfare League of America
Children's Defense Fund
Dads and Daughters
Deana's Fund
Episcopal Church, USA
General Federation of Women's Clubs
Girls Incorporated
Jewish Women International
National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
National Alliance to End Sexual Violence
National Association for Children of Alcoholics
National Association for Children's Behavioral Health
National Association of Counsel for Children
National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence
National Child Abuse Coalition
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
National Council of Jewish Women
National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty
National Network for Youth
National Network to End Domestic Violence
National Organization for Victim Assistance
National Organization of Social Workers
National Organization of Women
National Research Center for Women & Families
National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States
National Women’s Law Center
National Women's Studies Association
New Moon Publishing
Parents Anonymous® Inc.
Prevent Child Abuse America
Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)
Sheila Wellstone Institute
Stop Family Violence
Voices for America's Children
Women's Law Project
Girls Incorporated of Central Alabama
The Children's Trust Fund of Alabama
VOICES for Alabama's Children
YWCA of Central Alabama

Alaska Native Justice Center

ACTION Council of Monterey County
Advocacy Press
Break The Cycle Los Angeles
Break The Cycle San Francisco
Child Care Law Center
Girls Incorporated of Greater Santa Barbara
Girls Incorporated of Greater Santa Barbara
Girls Incorporated of the Island City
Girls Incorporated of the Redwood Coast
Los Angeles Coalition to End Hunger & Homelessness
Monterey Rape Crisis Center
YWCA of Sonoma County

Boys & Girls Club/Girls Inc. of Pueblo County & Lower Arkansas Valley

Girls Incorporated of Greater Hartford
YWCA of the Hartford Region

YWCA of New Castle County

District of Columbia
Ayuda, Inc.
Break The Cycle Washington, DC
DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence
DC Rape Crisis Center
Girls Incorporated of the Washington DC Metropolitan Area
My Sister's Place
Shaw Eco Village
Women Empowered Against Violence (WEAVE)


Girls Incorporated of Bay County
Girls Incorporated of Jacksonville
Girls Incorporated of Sarasota County
Girls Incorporated. of the Florida Mid-Panhandle
YWCA of Greater Miami & Dade County
YWCA of Tampa Bay

Girls Incorporated of Columbus and Phenix-Russell
Girls Incorporated of the CSRA
North Georgia Mountain Crisis Network's Sexual Assault Center
S.A.F.E., Inc

Hawaii Institute for Human Rights
Hawaii Youth Services Network

YWCA of Alton
YWCA of Freeport
YWCA of Kankakee
YWCA of the Sauk Valley
YWCA of Aurora
YWCA of Canton

Coalition Against Domestic Violence of Steuben County
Community Anti-Violence Alliance
Girls Incorporated of Jackson County
Girls Incorporated of Monroe County
YWCA of Fort Wayne
YWCA of Greater Lafayette

Girls Incorporated of Sioux City

YWCA of Greater New Orleans

Maine Children's Alliance



Girls Inc of Worcester
Girls Incorporated of Lynn
Massachusetts Citizens for Children
YWCA of Boston

Great Lakes Alliance of YWCAs
YWCA of Bay County

Lakes Crisis & Resource Center
WomanKind: An Integrated Model of 24-Hour Health Response to Domestic Violence

YWCA of Great Falls
YWCA of Missoula

Girls Incorporated of Omaha

New Jersey
YWCA of Trenton

New York
Break The Cycle New York
Natalie J. Sokoloff, Professor of Sociology, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault
Sexual Assault and Crime Victims Assistance Program for Rensselaer County
The Children's Aid Society
Yolanda Jimenez, Commissioner--Mayor's Office to Combat Domestic Violence, City of NY
YWCA of Cortland
YWCA of Schenectady

North Carolina
North Carolina Child Advocacy Institute

Erie County Prosecutor's Office
Rape Information and Counseling Program
The Shay's For Life Foundation
YWCA Columbus
YWCA of Coshocton County
YWCA of Dayton
YWCA of Medina County
YWCA’s of Elyria and Lorain

Crisis Control Center
Family Shelter of Southern Oklahoma
Help-In-Crisis, Inc
Muscogee Creek Nation Children and Family Services
Oklahoma Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
Parent Child Center of Tulsa

Sable House
Women's Crisis Support Team

McKeesport YWCA
Teen Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (TeenPCAR)
YWCA of Gettysburg & Adams County
YWCA of Greater Johnstown
YWCA of Hazleton

South Carolina
YWCA of Greenville

Girls Incorporated of Chattanooga
Girls Incorporated of Hamblen County
Girls Incorporated of Kingsport
Girls Incorporated of Memphis
Girls Incorporated of Oak Ridge
YWCA of Knoxville

Family Shelter of McCulloch County, Inc.
Girls Incorporated of Metropolitan Dallas
Highland Lakes Family Crisis Center

Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence

YWCA of the Virginia Peninsula

YWCA of Bellingham
YWCA of Lewiston
YWCA of Pierce County

West Virginia
CONTACT Rape Crisis Center
Rape and Domestic Violence Information Center, Inc.
West Virginia Foundation for Rape Information and Services

Milwaukee LGBT Community Center
Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault
YWCA Green Bay-DePere
YWCA Rock County

Carbon County C.O.V.E.
Gillette Abuse Refuge Foundation
H.O.P.E. Agency
Wyoming Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
YWCA Support and Safe House