Congress is also deciding the fate of legislation important to our community. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is an essential tool for our community. VAWA makes it possible for agencies like Jewish Family Service (JFS) and the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) to aid those who are struggling to escape domestic violence.
VAWA was enacted in 1994. The programs under the act are administered by the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services. VAWA gives law enforcement, prosecutors, and judges the tools they need to hold offenders accountable while supporting survivors of domestic violence.
Key legal tools like self-petitioning and program funding for the states will be lost without reauthorization of VAWA. Without reauthorization it will be harder for JFS and NCJW to carry out their work helping survivors of domestic violence.
Self-petitioning is a critical tool for abused immigrant spouses. The provisions allow for survivors of domestic violence to petition for immigration status on their own instead of relying on an abusive spouse as a sponsor. VAWA’s self-petition provisions remove the ability of an abuser to manipulate a survivor’s fears about his or her immigration status. Legal immigration status is crucial to a victim feeling safe enough to seek help.
Washington State Jewish Action Center
Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle
2031 Third Ave, Seattle, WA 98121