Early in his tenure as a U.S. senator, Mike Crapo visited a domestic violence shelter in the Treasure Valley.
Crapo said recently the episode motivated him to make domestic violence a priority. He has been the Republican Senate sponsor for the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) re-authorization multiple times.
“I saw the havoc it could wreak,” Crapo said. “It was a life-changing experience for me after I witnessed first-hand the horror of domestic violence.”
The senior senator from Idaho said the public should to be aware of two truths if the state is to make inroads in battling domestic violence.
The first is that survivors need to understand resources exist for them to get help.
“Make sure victims know it’s not their fault and they don’t have to put up with it,” Crapo said. “They should not feel ashamed or have to keep quiet.”
Unfortunately, some counties in Idaho do not have domestic violence shelters, Crapo said. “We do not have enough shelters for the need.”
The other element of public awareness is for men to understand domestic violence is not to be tolerated.
“Making clear to perpetrators, particularly men but not always men, that the kind of behavior they’re participating in is unacceptable and will be prosecuted,” Crapo said.
Crapo worked to get the Violence Against Women Act reauthorized this year. He also wants to make Congress fund the Victims of Crime Act, much of which goes to domestic violence work, to its fullest and stop the use of what he calls “budget gimmicks” to take its allocations away.
“It’s a critical issue,” Crapo said.
WHAT IS VAWA?
The Violence Against Women Act authorizes some $659 million a year over five years for programs that strengthen the criminal justice system’s response to crimes against women and some men, such as transitional housing, legal assistance, law enforcement training and hotlines.
One element of this year’s renewal focuses on ways to reduce sexual assault on college campuses. It also reauthorizes the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, adds stalking to the list of crimes that make immigrants eligible for protection and authorizes programs to reduce the backlog in rape investigations.
Source: The Associated Press
SEN. RISCH ON VAWA
While Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo championed re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act, Idaho Sen. Jim Risch was one of only four senators who voted against the act. In a statement after the vote, Risch explained his reasoning.
“It is at the state and local level where I believe enforcement and prosecution must remain,” Risch said. “The federal government does not need to add another layer of bureaucracy to acts of violence that are being handled at the state and local level. … I opposed this legislation, however well intended it was, because it is another effort of the federal government extending its reach into the affairs of state and local jurisdictions.”