February 12, 2016

20th Anniversary

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is a federal law aimed at ending violence against women and remedying the laws and social practices that have fostered and justified the history of violence against women.

This landmark legislation, first introduced by then-Senator Biden (D-DE), was initially passed and signed into law in 1994, marking the first U.S. federal law to acknowledge domestic violence and sexual assault as crimes, providing federal resources to encourage community-coordinated responses to combating violence. The 1994 protections and provisions were subsequently expanded and improved upon when the bill was renewed in 2000 and 2005. In 2011 Congress allowed the bill to expire - despite the support of numerous individuals attempting to push the stalled bill through the House and Senate.

Senators Leahy (D-VT) and Crapo (R-ID) reintroduced the bill in 2013 with added protections for LGBT, Native American, students, and immigrant victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. The ABA supported this bill and sent numerous letters to the House and Senate urging its prompt passage. On March 7, 2013, after passing through Congress, the President signed and reauthorized VAWA for another 5 years. 

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In honor of the important work accomplished by the passage of the Violence Against Women Act and the creation of the Commission on Domestic & Sexual Violence 20 years ago, the American Bar Association will celebrate trailblazers who mobilized the legal profession against domestic and sexual violence at its upcoming Annual Meeting.

REQUIREMENTS

Eligible candidates are attorneys who are/were trailblazers in creating, supporting, advancing, or advocating for the CDSV or VAWA over the last 20 years.

Awardees will have: 

  1. Worked to increase access to justice and provision of outstanding legal services for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and/or stalking as a VAWA grantee; OR
  2. Personally represented victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and/or stalking; OR
  3. Participated in community activities to increase and improve services for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and/or stalking; OR
  4. Participated in the creation, worked to support funding, or championed the existence of VAWA or the CDSV; OR
  5. Achieved legislation or litigation outcomes that contribute substantially to increased safety and justice for victims.

Nominees may be ABA members or non-members. Current Commission members are not eligible for the Award.

Nominees must be available to attend the 20/20 Vision Awards Ceremony at the upcoming ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL on Saturday, August 1, 2015. 

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