Attorney General Jim Hood joined attorneys general from all states and five territories in a letter urging Congress to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) before it expires later this year.
In the letter, the attorneys general emphasized the importance of VAWA to reducing the rate of sexual violence toward women and addressing the devastating effects of these crimes.
After the letter was sent, Hood stated that the act has led to many strides in the protection of women in Mississippi.
“In the past, funding under the VAWA has allowed the Domestic Violence Division to add a resource prosecutor and conduct statewide trainings,” General Hood said. “Since its creation in 2006, our Domestic Violence Division has provided training to thousands of law enforcement officers, prosecutors, judges and medical personnel in Mississippi.
VAWA originally passed in 1994, and since then, over $6 billion in grant funding has been awarded to government and nonprofit organizations nationwide.
“Additionally, through authorized funding under the VAWA, we partnered with the Mississippi Coalition Against Sexual Assault in October 2014 to launch the Mississippi Encourage Sexual Assault ARREST Project to improve the investigation and prosecution of sex crimes in our state. The importance of funding under this act cannot be overstated,” Hood said.
According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, VAWA encouraged “community-coordinated responses that brought together, for the first time, the criminal justice system, the social services system, and private nonprofit organizations responding to domestic violence and sexual assault.” In encouraging this coordination, it also recognized and supported the thousands of shelters and organizations across the country that provide resources, protection and assistance to those in crisis.