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Marking the 17th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) helps us both appreciate the great strides that have been made in addressing all types of violence against women and recognize the fact that more needs to be done to create a society free from domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking.

The concept of a coordinated community response is one of the most critical and visible achievements of VAWA. In the years since VAWA’s enactment by Congress in 1994, we have witnessed a sea-change in the ways that communities respond to domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and dating violence. VAWA encourages communities to bring together stakeholders from diverse backgrounds to share information and to use their distinct roles to improve our responses to and prevention of violence against women. These groups include, but are not limited to: victim advocates, police officers, prosecutors, judges, probation and corrections officials, health care professionals, leaders within faith communities, and survivors of violence. New programs and amendments have strengthened the law and enhanced our work.


September 13, 2011

(Washington, D.C.) Record numbers of women lived in poverty - and extreme poverty - in 2010, according to an analysis of Census data released today by the National Women's Law Center (NWLC). The poverty rate among women climbed to 14.5 percent in 2010 from 13.9 percent in 2009, the highest in 17 years. The extreme poverty rate among women climbed to 6.3 percent in 2010 from 5.9 percent in 2009, the highest rate ever recorded. Over 17 million women lived in poverty in 2010, including more than 7.5 million in extreme poverty; extreme poverty means income below half the federal poverty line.

In addition, the percentage of women under 65 without health insurance increased from 19.2 percent in 2009 to 19.7 percent in 2010, the highest rate recorded in more than a decade. Over 19 million women younger than 65 were without health care coverage in 2010.


Save the Date and Spread the Word: Monday, September 26, 2011

The 11th Annual Gladys Ricart and Victims of Domestic Violence Memorial Walk will take place on Monday, September 26, 2011 in New York City. Hundreds of women, men and youth are expected to participate in the march which marks the anniversary death of Gladys Ricart and the countless other victims of domestic violence.


Description: Ending Child Sexual AbuseA new report commissioned by the Ms. Foundation for Women and produced by the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers (ATSA) offers alternatives to fear-based strategies to reduce child sexual abuse.

A Reasoned Approach: Reshaping Sex Offender Policy to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse, broadens the discussion of what works to keep children safe. "Ending child sexual abuse requires a reasoned approach to sex offender management," says Patricia Eng, Ms. Foundation Vice President of Program. "This report offers a basis for centering policies around children and communities as a way forward."

Read more and download the report

Description: Migrant Health PromotionOn August 1, 2011, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius accepted the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommendations that key preventive health services for women, including contraception, be covered by insurance without co-pays or deductibles.

According to Ellen Liu, program officer for health at the Ms. Foundation, this is an "enormous milestone in the women's reproductive health movement, which has long sought to remove the barrier of cost to family planning." In addition, she notes, "while birth control has received the greatest amount of attention, the IOM also recommended full coverage of other essential services including breastfeeding support, screening and counseling for HIV, domestic violence and gestational diabetes, and strengthened cervical cancer detection." She adds that this adoption advances the notion "that women's health care is basic health care, not something "extra" -- and therefore, subject to extra fees."

Institute of Medicine's (IOM) findings

Read Ellen Liu's Post

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