Ladies and gentlemen, I urge you to at least pass the renewal of the 1994 Violence Against Women Act as it has been a great tool in the ongoing battle against the scourge of domestic violence. However, I feel Congress should go far beyond that.Right now we have both state and federal legislation in this field. I suggest this is wrong, and although it may well require a constitutional amendment, I believe the federal government through Congress should take over sole jurisdiction and financing of programs aimed at dealing with the issue of violence against women, although state and municipal authorities would remain empowered to administer programs and enforce legislation. At the moment we have a variety of state legislation albeit all with the goal of fighting violence against women, but with different tools. For example, some states mandate that police make an arrest(s) when summoned to a domestic violence incident whereas others do not. Most states automatically recognize another state’s protection order but 3 require that it first be registered before it can be enforced. Some states have more extensive victim assistance program and facilities than others do. First of all, I think that legislation in the same field by 2 levels of government creates unnecessary, costly duplication and the potential for confusion. Secondly and I think even more importantly, one might ask why should a woman in one state be subject to differing legal protections and resources than in another state? I can see no rationale why this should be and I think it could be classified as discriminatory treatment. I feel the laws and conditions should be identical throughout the US. Of course, I recognize a number of resources will have to vary depending on the state population and volume of domestic violence incidents, but I submit the quality of resources should be similar throughout the entire country. In other words, a female victim should be able to access the same services whether, for example, she is resident in Alaska or Florida.
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