Haganta, Guam – September 12 – This week marks the 20th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA 1994) as part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 enacted by Congress.
VAWA is a comprehensive legislative package designed to end violence against women and was reauthorized in 2000, 2005, and more recently, 2013. The legislative history of VAWA indicates that Congress seeks to remedy the legacy of laws and social norms that serve to justify violence against women. Since the passage of VAWA, there has been a paradigm shift in how the issue of violence against women is addressed nationwide.
VAWA was designed to improve criminal justice responses to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking and to increase the availability of services for victims of these crimes.
The Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) was created specifically to implement VAWA and subsequent legislation. OVW administers financial and technical assistance to communities around the country to facilitate the creation of programs, policies, and practices aimed at ending domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.
The Guam Coalition Against Sexual Assault & Family Violence (GCASAFV) will host a GREET & MEET gathering with its Coalition members and community partners to recognize the 20th Anniversary of
VAWA in conjunction with a rare visit with leader of the Office on Violence Against Women. Dr. Bea Hanson, OVW Principal Deputy Director, will be on Guam for a brief visit this weekend. Dr. Hanson served in her position since May 2011. She earned a PhD in Social Welfare degree from the City University of New York and MSW degree from Hunter College of Social Work in New York.
She previously served as Chief Program Officer for Safe Horizon, a crime victim service organization in New York City serving 350,000 victims annually.
This is the first time that any key OVW official will be visiting Guam, and it is also a very opportune event as OVW celebrates the 20th anniversary of VAWA and as we prepare to also recognize October as Family Violence Awareness Month.
Established in 2006, the Guam Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Family Violence (GCASAFV) is a tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that aims to address sexual assault and family violence on Guam with one united voice.
GCASAFV’s mission is to identify and address the community needs and access to services for victims and survivors of sexual assault and family violence by raising community awareness and building the island’s capacity through education, outreach and training. Membership is comprised of service providers, government allies, and community partners. To learn more about GCASAFV, visit www.guamcoalition.org; or, for a listing of island resources, www.GuamServices.org .