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PRESS STATEMENT: CCASA URGES AN IMMEDIATE END TO SHUTDOWN, REAUTHORIZE VAWA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 16, 2019

Contact: Jolene Cardenas,

Director of Communications and Development

Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CCASA)

Direct Line: 720.330.8922

Email: jolene@ccasa.org

Website: www.ccasa.org

CCASA URGES AN IMMEDIATE END TO SHUTDOWN, REAUTHORIZE VAWA

DENVER, CO – Today marks the 26th day of the partial shutdown of the United States government. During this shutdown the re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) has been postponed. VAWA was first enacted in 1994 and has been reauthorized three times since then. It is one of the key pieces of federal legislation dedicated to improving a coordinated community response to domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking; enhancing access to services and support for survivors; and improving prevention efforts. Many local, state, tribal, and national agencies and organizations receive and depend on VAWA funding to provide critical services and support.

Advocates have worked for two years with Congress to urge passage of a Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act that would provide critical enhancements and improvements to the law.  The law technically expired on December 21st.  The protections enshrined in VAWA, however, continue to exist despite its expiration, as confirmed by Terri Poore, Policy Director at the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence.

The government shutdown, not the lapse in authorization, is the most significant threat to continued VAWA funds. The shutdown has cut off critical resources to vulnerable communities which puts survivors’ lives in danger. Native American tribal communities are especially struggling to provide vital services including food pantries and access to health care, as well as to Victim Specialists.

The Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CCASA) demands an end to the unnecessary government shutdown immediately. The most urgent issue for victim service providers and the survivors they serve is access to continued grant funds. Congress must pass a funding bill (like the Senate passed on December 20th). The President and Congress must end the shutdown to ensure continued availability to lifesaving services.

When they return for the 116th Congress, Members of Congress should begin work on a bipartisan Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) to build on current protections and increase access to justice and safety for all survivors. CCASA remains committed to lifting up the voices of advocates and survivors, and calls on Congress to introduce and pass a bipartisan VAWA reauthorization legislation that will provide improvements to address the critical needs of all survivors as well as enhance prevention efforts. ###

Interviews available upon request

The Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CCASA) provides leadership, advocacy, and support to address and prevent sexual violence.

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