As JWI enters 2018 we are more dedicated than ever to be your champion, advocating for issues that support the safety and security of women and girls and provide families with the financial security they need to succeed. Read below to learn more about the policies we are focusing on this year.
In 2018 the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is up for reauthorization. The importance of this legislation can’t be understated – it is critical to the safety and security of millions of women and communities across the country. Congress must pass a new version of the law by the end of the year in order to ensure funding for grants that provide prevention services, encourage collaboration between law enforcement and nonprofit service providers, educate and train judges and court personnel, address the needs of under-served populations.
Domestic violence is at epidemic rates in the United States, with one in four women experiencing severe physical abuse by an intimate partner. VAWA is our nation’s single most effective tool in responding to the devastating crimes of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking – providing lifesaving programs and services. JWI, along with our partners in the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence, is working to make sure that the reauthorization builds upon previous successes and makes critical improvements to meet the changing needs of victims in 2018.
The time to strengthen federal gun laws is long overdue. With more than 400 mass shootings in 2017, it is unconscionable that Congress has not passed a single gun safety bill. And the link between gun violence and domestic violence is irrefutable. More than half of women murdered with guns in the U.S. are killed by intimate partners, and in more than half of mass shootings the shooter killed a current or former intimate partner or family member.
Let’s start with the “Fix NICS Act of 2017”, a bill that provides incentives and resources to properly enforce existing laws barring domestic violence perpetrators from accessing firearms. JWI calls on the Senate and House of Representatives to pass a clean version of the bipartisan bill. It is past time that Congress enacts commonsense gun prevention legislation that bans assault weapons, expands background checks, and closes the “boyfriend” loophole that allows dating violence abusers to have guns.
1. Economic Security for Women and Families
After ramming through the tax bill in December that will provide more than 82% of the benefits to 1% of Americans by 2027, members of Congress are now looking to cut government spending by slashing healthcare, nutrition assistance, and other supports that help everyday Americans make ends meet. Cutting Medicaid, Medicare, SNAP and other means-tested assistance programs won’t help create jobs or raise anyone’s wages – it will just make it harder for struggling families. Women today still face economic inequality and are under intense financial pressure because of rising childcare costs and stagnant wages. Instead of cutting public programs that millions of women and families rely on, Congress should raise the minimum wage, mandate paid sick/safe days, and pass paid family leave legislation – helping to build long-term economic security.
And for you...
Our resolution for 2018 is to make an effort to focus on the positive. We're starting a Positivity Jar to challenge ourselves to keep track of one positive thing each day--today's positive is the new Time's Up initiative that gives us hope for real systematic change. Help us fill our jar by tagging @JewishWomenIntl on social media and using #positivityjar!