From Democratic Representative Jim Costa:
As you may know, October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. Domestic violence is not an easy topic to discuss, but this month gives us the opportunity to raise awareness and shine a light on an issue that affects all communities regardless of socioeconomic status, ethnicity, or religion.
As Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the Congressional Victims’ Rights Caucus, issues relating to domestic abuse is one my most important priorities. The mission of the Congressional Victims’ Rights Caucus is to elevate crime victim issues and advocate on behalf of crime victims in Congress in a bipartisan manner without infringing on the rights of American citizens.
As a strong advocate for victims’ rights, I am an ardent supporter of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The law was originally enacted in 1994 and offers a wide range of services and support to victims of domestic abuse. VAWA provides funding for grant programs which assist state and local governments, nonprofit organizations, and universities to combat the crimes of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. Victims of domestic violence often are afraid to report abuse for fear that their abuser will retaliate by doing more harm. This is why it is imperative that our communities and local organizations have the funding and resources necessary to reach out to women and children to let them know they have a safe place to turn.
Like you, I was very concerned and appalled by the recent headlines in the news regarding the reports of some professional athletes abusing their wives and children. In response, my colleagues and I sent letters to the major U.S. professional sports leagues urging them to review and strengthen their policies regarding domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse. The major U.S. professional sports leagues include the National Football League, Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, National Hockey League, and Major League Soccer. It is my hope that the leadership of these organizations takes a strong stand against these serious crimes, because we know for many in America these athletes are seen as role models. As a nation, we must take a moment to recognize that these are crimes which are affecting all communities, and we need to work together by continuing our efforts to end domestic violence and abuse.
The media attention has died down, but it is imperative that we continue these discussions and talk about raising awareness of domestic violence. If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, here are resources available to help:
Marjaree Mason Center
1 (800) 640-0333
Community Action Partnership of Madera County
1 (800) 355-8989
Valley Crisis Center
1 (209) 722-4357
Please don’t hesitate to contact me on this or any other federal issue of importance to you. Furthermore, I encourage you to visit my website at www.costa.house.gov for the most recent news on the work I am doing in our Valley and to sign up for my e-newsletter.
Member of Congress