The common-sense changes include tightening up definitions so that true victims get priority, removing harmful mandatory arrest practices, restoring the presumption of innocence to the accused, improving accountability and making sure educational programs provide sound factual information.
To make the law gender-inclusive, we are proposing the law be renamed the Partner Violence Reduction Act. Our changes retain 95 percent of the existing Violence Against Women Act provisions that have done incalculable good, while incorporating the lessons learned since VAWA’s original enactment in 1994.
For persons who have been harmed by a partner or by a false accusation of abuse, the Partner Violence Reduction Act offers the prospect of healing and hope.
Natasha Spivack is treasurer of the Maryland-based group Stop Abusive and Violent Environments.
Terri Henderson, 6, center, whose mother is El Salvador, attends a rally with members of Congress at Union Station's Columbus Circle to announce the Restore Opportunity, Strengthen, and Improve the Economy (ROSIE) Act on July 29, 2014. The legislation provides incentives for government contractors to pay a living wage and other benefits that would help low-income workers.