WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) hosted a teleconference with women’s organizations across New Mexico to answer questions and discuss the pressing need to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
During the call, Senator Heinrich stressed the importance of provisions in the Senate bill that aim to combat domestic violence in Indian country and keep Indian women safe.
“Currently, four out of five perpetrators of domestic or sexual violence on tribal lands are non-Indians. Many of these individuals are never punished. Indian women deserve to be just as safe and to have the same access to justice as non-Indian women, and this bill takes the steps necessary to do that,” Heinrich told conference call participants.
Senator Heinrich also acknowledged the important role the organizations play in protecting women and children and strengthening families in New Mexico. “You all see this in your lives and you paint a real picture about just how important it is that we get this done and that we get this done in a timely way,” Heinrich said.
The call ended with Senator Heinrich urging organizations to keep the pressure on to get VAWA reauthorized. He said, “The health and safety of sexual and domestic violence victims is a high priority and should not be subjected to partisan politics. And though I’m confident VAWA will receive bipartisan support in the Senate, our work won’t be over. We must urge the House to move swiftly to pass this bill so we can expand protections for families across New Mexico.”