10.15.19

SCHUMER REVEALS: MILLIONS OF FED DOLLARS BELONGING TO LONG ISLAND & NEEDED LOCALLY TO BATTLE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE & SAVE LIVES IS LOCKED IN LIMBO UNTIL SENATE MOVES; WITH THOUSAND(S) OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ARRESTS ON LONG ISLAND LAST YEAR ALONE, SENATOR MAKES PUBLIC PUSH TO KEEP LI FUNDS FLOWING

Each Year, LI Rightfully Receives Huge Chunk Of Fed Dollars To Fight Domestic Violence & Support Victims BUT For Months Now, The Key To Those Funds—The Bipartisan, House-Passed Violence Against Women Act—Remains Held Up In Senate For No Good Reason; Status Quo Continuing Could Cripple LI Programs & Hamper Law Enforcement

In United Front, Long Island’s Vanguards Combatting Domestic Violence Rally With Schumer To Apply Max Public Pressure To Pass ‘VAWA’

Schumer: This Is Long Island’s Money & It’s Long Island Lives On The Line

In a united front, Long Island’s vanguards in the fight against domestic violence—advocates, law enforcement and survivors—stood with U.S. Senator Charles Schumer to demand immediate federal action in the Senate, and they cited local reasons why there is simply no time to waste. Schumer revealed how millions of dollars in fed funds belonging to Long Island and needed locally to battle domestic violence and save lives are locked in limbo until the Senate moves. Schumer detailed the amount of money on the line, and unveiled local arrest numbers across the Island that prove the clear need for these funds in the fight against the all-too-common threat of domestic abuse. He explained how these funds assist law enforcement, youth, schools, victims and more as he makes the case and joined with locals to apply maximum pressure.

“Last year alone, nearly $2 million dollars was awarded across the Island to groups that applied for critical federal dollars needed locally to battle domestic violence and save lives,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “And over the past years, millions more has come to Long Island when our advocates and law enforcement made the case for need. Each and every one of these dollars is made possible because of a piece of legislation called the Violence Against Women Act, which I authored in 1994.”

Schumer said that while the landmark VAWA has played a significant role in decreasing incidents of domestic and sexual violence across the country and on Long Island, there is still a lot of work to be done. In 2018, the Suffolk County Police Department responded to 27,823 domestic incidents, 7,027 domestic incidents with offense, and the department made 2,910 domestic violence related arrests. Also in 2018, the Nassau County Police Department responded to 14,030 domestic incidents, 3,825 of those incidents included penal law offenses, and the department made 1,648 domestic arrests.

“Year after year, this landmark legislation has helped send lifesaving dollars to Long Island communities, and wonderful organizations like those with us today, to develop specialized law enforcement units, train professionals in handling domestic violence and sexual assault, improve prosecutions of these crimes and provide services to survivors,” Schumer added. “And even though VAWA has resulted in such a significant drop in these crimes, and the House of Representatives passed a bipartisan, commonsense 5-year extension of it last April, all we’ve heard in the Senate is radio silence. Each and every one of the more than one-thousand domestic violence arrests made across Long Island so far this year alone is one too many, so we are here to lift the blockade on this bill, follow the House’s lead and pass the VAWA extension as soon as possible.”

To date in 2019, the Nassau County District Attorney has received approximately 1,359 domestic violence cases, with 974 being misdemeanors and 385 being felonies.

Within the last 5 years, organizations across Long Island received over $4.6 million in federal funding through the Violence Against Women Act. Specifically, $887,198 was awarded to aid law enforcement in combatting domestic violence; $300,000 was awarded to combat campus sexual assault; $750,000 was awarded to combat domestic violence among the disabled; $815,243 was awarded to provide housing for victims of domestic violence; $892,793 was awarded to improve criminal justice response (ICJR); and $1,000,000 was awarded to provide legal assistance to victims (LAV).

Below is a breakdown of the federal funding awarded to organizations across Long Island through the Violence Against Women Act within the last five years:

 

VAWA Funding Awards on Long Island (5 years)

 

Organization

Location

Program

Year

Amount

 

Suffolk County

Yaphank

Arrest

2015

$887,198

 

Molloy College

Rockville Centre

Campus

2018

$300,000

 

Suffolk County Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Bay Shore

Disability

2015

$425,000

 

L.I. Against Domestic Violence

Central Islip

Disability

2018

$325,000

 

Retreat, Inc.

East Hampton

Housing

2016

$350,000

 

Brighter Tomorrows, Inc.

Shirley

Housing

2018

$465,243

 

Suffolk County Probation Department

Yaphank

ICJR

2018

$892,793

 

The Safe Center LI, Incorporated

Bethpage

LAV

2014

$500,000

 

Victims Information Bureau of Suffolk, Incorporated

Central Islip

LAV

2014

$500,000

 

Total

 

 

 

$4,645,234

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The original 1994 VAWA bill, which was authored by Schumer when he was a member of the House, has been reauthorized three times—in 2000, 2005 and 2013—with unanimous Senate approval the first two times.

Since its enactment, the bill has reduced domestic violence by more than 50 percent. Additionally, the legislation, over the course of its history, has provided more than $7 billion in federal funding towards reducing these types of violence. However this lifesaving, bipartisan bill expired in February of this year. Many of the programs have continued to receive funding over the last year thanks to continuing resolutions passed by the House and Senate. In the 116th Congress, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2019 passed by a vote of 263-158 last April, with bipartisan support. However, the Senate has yet to take up the commonsense, House-passed VAWA reauthorization bill. Today, Schumer and others are applying maximum pressure and get this done.

Beyond reauthorizing all of the current grant programs under the original VAWA and those established by previous reauthorizations, the House-passed VAWA reauthorization also includes a number of new provisions to aid and support victims of domestic and sexual violence. Some of the most essential include:

  • Establishing a survey among District and State Attorney Offices that receive funding from VAWA grant programs to track the rates of rape cases.
  • Increasing funding for the Services, Training Officers and Prosecutors (STOP) grant program, which promotes a coordinated, multidisciplinary approach to enhancing advocacy and improving the criminal justice system’s response to violent crimes against women. The program encourages the development and improvement of effective law enforcement and prosecution strategies to address violent crimes against women and the development and improvement of advocacy and services in cases involving violent crimes against women.
  • Enhancing the Grants to Reduce Violent Crimes Against Women on Campus Program by supporting educational institutions seeking to develop and distribute educational materials to students related to prevention.
  • Boosting housing protections for survivors of domestic and sexual violence. Additionally, a provision in the reauthorization bill ensures that in the event of separation from a spouse, survivors retain access to housing. The bill also increases opportunities under transitional housing grant programs for organizations that operate in underserved and low-income communities.
  • Promoting the economic security and stability of victims of domestic and sexual violence. One of the ways the VAWA reauthorization bill would do this would be by authorizing funding for a Government Accountability Office study on the economic implications of domestic violence and the best possible solution to these implications for victims.

“We must do everything we can — on both the local and federal level — to support survivors of domestic violence. Programs authorized and funded by VAWA are vital to those on the front lines protecting and serving domestic violence survivors. I greatly appreciate Senator Chuck Schumer’s push to reauthorize funding for VAWA, so we can ensure survivors and their families continue to have access to important protection and recovery services,” said Nassau County Executive Laura Curran.

“Senator Schumer is a leader in the fight against domestic violence. In 1994, then-Congressman Schumer wrote and helped pass a landmark piece of legislation called the Violence Against Women Act. Thanks to that legislation, we’ve made tremendous strides in the fight against domestic violence, both here in New York and nationally. We need Congress to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act as soon as possible, so that critical domestic violence programs get the funding they need. Lives are literally on the line,” said District Attorney Madeline Singas.

"As a survivor of Domestic Violence, I know first-hand how trapped and isolated a victim can feel. The vital services funded by The Violence Against Women Act are a lifeline to women and families and it must be reauthorized now," said Legislator Kara Hahn.

“Failure to reauthorize VAWA is a step backward that we cannot afford to take. Domestic Violence costs billions of dollars every year in time lost at work, in healthcare services and police protection. Every day three victims lose their life to intimate partner violence in the United States of America. It is imperative that we to continue to build on gains toward ending violence rather than squander precious opportunities.” said Dolores Kordon, Executive Director of Brighter Tomorrows, INC.

“The Safe Center strongly encourages the Senate to pass the Violence Against Women Act. This funding is critical to protecting some of the most vulnerable members of our community and helps to provide critical services to help them heal and create a life free from abuse and victimization,” said Cynthia Scott, Executive Director of the Safe Center.

“Now is not the time to maintain the status quo, nor is it the time to backslide. Survivors and communities have very real, identified needs. This bill reflects on and responds to these needs for preventing future violence, serving victims and holding offenders accountable. Survivors are counting on the Senate to take action to meet their critical needs,” said Colleen Merlo, Executive Director of L.I. Against Domestic Violence.

“As a local Long Island agency, VAWA is critical to our existence as a comprehensive agency for all survivors/victims of abuse and violence. Funding enables us to provide essential core services to children and adults in our communities. Thus, this bill impacts each and every one of us and helps to keep our communities safe,” said Loretta Davis, Executive Director of The Retreat.

“As a direct service provider to thousands of victims of intimate partner violence, Victims Information Bureau of Suffolk (VIBS) urges the Senate to pass the lifesaving Violence Against Women Act. We cannot turn back the clock and reduce access to safety and justice for victims and survivors—the stakes are too high. We applaud Senator Schumer for urging his Senate colleagues to pass this important legislation, which we know saves countless lives,” said Reina Schiffrin, Executive Director of VIBS.

“It is critically important for the Senate to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act to help assist the agencies that work with survivors in their rehabilitation. VAWA provides vital resources critical to the support of survivors and letting this critical funding lapse is a grave disservice to the 12 million people who experience intimate partner violence each year in the US. The Crime Victims Center stands with Senator Schumer and thanks him for fighting for this necessary reauthorization,” said Laura Ahearn, Executive Director of Crime Victims Center.

###



Previous Article Next Article