Help Ensure that All Women Who are Victims of Abuse are Able to Seek Help
Hanna Broback -
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September 13, 2012

According to the last poll of the National Institute of Statistic, 43% of Mexicans women have been victims of domestic violence. It is necessary to break down stereotypes of submission and domination between men and women and legally punish violence against women. (teleSUR)

Target: U.S. House of Representatives

Goal: Ensure that all women who are victims of domestic violence and abuse are unhindered in seeking help by raising the limit on special visas for women this year and next.

The special U visas for women, under the Violence Against Women Act, provide undocumented immigrants who are victims of violence, and their families, temporary legal status and eligibility to work in the U.S. For the third year in a row, the number of special visas allowed has reached its limit, this time quite early. Congress needs to pass a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, including improvements to the act, and in the meantime, raise this year’s limit so that no victims of violence are discouraged from coming forward for help.

Though this reauthorization of the act passed easily in the Senate, House Republicans have significantly reduced its effectiveness. They would not approve the increase in visas from 10,000 to 15,000, prevented new protections for gay or bisexual victims, and they prevented victims from applying for permanent residency after three years. Without the comprehensive protections in the Violence Against Women Act, many victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and other life-altering crimes would continue to be abused, while abusers would go unimpeded.

Undocumented immigrants are especially vulnerable because perpetrators of violence often take advantage of the victim’s fear of asking for help while uncertain of their rights and consequences. The act provides victims legal support and encouragement to seek help, and provides them and their families legal status and eligibility to work in the U.S. for over four years.

Since the limit on U Visas has been reached, for the rest of the fiscal year undocumented victims of violence will be further discouraged from coming forward for help, and perpetrators of violence will go unpunished . The Violence Against Women Act has been widely successful, reducing domestic violence by a significant percent since 1993.

Please request that The House of Representatives vote on the improvements both parties widely approved in the Senate, and ensure punishment for acts of violence and protections for all victims of violence in the United States.

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