On Tuesday, US Senator Chris Coons (D-DE), member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and co-chair of the Senate Law Enforcement Caucus, issued a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid calling for a full Senate vote on the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2011 (VAWA). In early February, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2011 (VAWA) was voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on a party-line vote of 10-8. All Democrats voted to move the bill to the Senate floor for a vote and all Republicans voted no.

Senator Coons stated, “Thanks in large part to VAWA, we have made great inroads in the fight to combat these crimes—the rate of intimate partner violence against women has declined by 53 percent and there has been a similar decline in violence against men. Intimate partner violence resulting in death has decreased by 29 percent.”

VAWA was originally drafted by then-Senator Joe Biden and was signed into law in 1994. It was then reauthorized by Congress in both 2000 and 2005. The law has thus far allocated more than $9 billion to improve federal, state, and local-level investigation and prosecution of domestic violence, rape and sexual assault and to provide support for prevention, education, temporary shelters, rape crisis centers and community services for survivors.

It is estimated that every nine seconds, a woman is abused in the United States and nearly one-third of women in the United States report being physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend at some time in their lives.

Statement of Chris Coons 3/13/12; Delawareonline.com 3/14/12