Oregon Groups Wait Out Stalemate on Violence Against Women Act
BEND, OR -- Members of Oregon's support network for domestic-violence survivors are closely watching the battle in Congress over reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. It provides more than $1.6 million for Oregon victim services and law enforcement programs. Vanessa Timmons, with the Oregon Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, said the controversy puts funding in jeopardy when there already are waiting lists at women's shelters.
"Even with state and federal funding, it’s very difficult to fully fund domestic and sexual violence programs. Unfortunately, there is still a need for us to grow, and also to apply some prevention strategies to our work. Very few people want to fund prevention, yet it’s critical."
The National Organization for Women is opposed to the House bill, calling it 'anti-gay,' 'anti-immigrant', and even 'anti-women.' NOW Vice President Mary Pollack said it excludes many abuse victims that are less likely to report.
"Immigrant women are especially vulnerable, because some of them are victims of domestic violence and are very afraid of calling the police, or calling for help."
The Violence Against Women Act expires in September. President Obama has threatened to veto the House version; the only Oregon congressman to support it is Representative Greg Walden. No compromise negotiations have been scheduled.
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