NCC repeats call for renewal of Violence Against Women Act

Posted Jan 31, 2012

[National Council of Churches] The National Council of Churches has joined 38 national and regional ecumenical, interfaith, and advocacy organizations to renew a call to Congress to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA).

Last month, the NCC was one of more than 150 organizations that issued a similar call. See

The Act, which creates an office within the Department of Justice to develop federal policies around issues relating to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking, was scheduled for reauthorization in 2011.

“Since the original passage of VAWA in 1994, the legislation has dramatically enhanced our nation’s response to violence against women,” the organizations said in a January 26, 2012 letter to members of Congress.

“More victims report domestic violence to the police; the rate of non-fatal intimate partner violence against women has decreased by 63 percent; and VAWA saved nearly $14,8 billion in net averted social costs in just its first six years,” the latter said.

Churches and faith organizations actively support VAWA, said the Rev. Ann Tiemeyer, program director of the National Council of Churches Women’s Ministries Program.

“The church not only has a role in calling upon our Government to reauthorize and fund VAWA,” Tiemeyer said. “We also need to be safe places where women can come for assistance and healing. We need to preach out against all forms of intimate partner violence and work in partnership with our government to accomplish this goal.”

The nationwide Ecumenical Advocacy Days in 2010 set VAWA as a primary topic to discuss with members of Congress when delegates visited Capitol Hill, Tiemeyer noted. “Knowing that re-authorization was coming this fall, we have been building on this work since last March.”

Organizations signing on to a letter to members of Congress today said, “In times of crisis, victims often turn to their faith communities and leaders for guidance and support. Faith leaders are on the front lines each day identifying victims, providing refuge, referring victims and their families to VAWA programs and services, and offering hope and healing.”

Reauthorization of VAWA, the letter said, “gives lawmakers an opportunity to build upon previous successes and make critical improvements to meet the changing needs of victims and provide more avenues for assistance and support.”

The full text of the letter to Congress is here.

Signers of the letter to Congress include:

Alliance of Baptists
Apostolic Catholic Church
Association of Jewish Family & Children’s Agencies

Catholics for Family Peace Committee
Christian Reformed Church in North America
Church Women United
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Evangelicals for Social Action
FaithTrust Institute
Global Justice Institute
Hindu American Seva Charities
IMA World Health
Interfaith Community Against Domestic Violence
Islamic Circle of North America
Islamic Relief USA
Islamic Social Services Association- USA
Islamic Society of North America
Jewish Council for Public Affairs
Jewish Reconstructionist Federation
Jewish Women International
Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office
Metropolitan Community Churches
Muslim Public Affairs Council
National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
National Council of Catholic Women
National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA
National Council of Jewish Women
NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby
Peaceful Families Project
Pentecostals & Charismatics for Peace & Justice
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Office of Public Witness
Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association
Safe Havens Interfaith Partnership Against Domestic Violence
Union for Reform Judaism
Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations
United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries
United Methodist Women
United Methodist Church, General Board of Church & Society
Women of Reform Judaism