Leahy-Chaired Panel To Hear Testimony From Director Of Vt.’s Women Helping Battered Women

Hearing To Focus On Importance Of Violence Against Women Act

WASHINGTON (Tuesday, July 12, 2011) – A U.S. Senate panel chaired by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) will hear testimony Wednesday from the Executive Director of Women Helping Battered Women, a Vermont organization that provides assistance to victims of domestic violence.  The hearing will be held by the Senate Judiciary Committee, and will explore the importance of the Violence Against Women Act, a landmark law passed 17 years ago, which is set to expire later this year.

Jane Van Buren is the Executive Director of Women Helping Battered Women.  The organization was founded in 1974, and has helped more than 4,400 children and adults in the last 37 years.  The organization offers emergency shelter, legal assistance programs, 24-hour hotline services, and educational outreach programs to victims of domestic violence.  Ms. Van Buren is expected to testify about the critical need for transitional housing, particularly in rural communities, and about the innovative efforts underway in Vermont to provide this important service.


Also testifying at Wednesday’s hearing will be Dr. Phillip C. McGraw, who hosts “Dr. Phil” and has dedicated significant time on the show to the issue of domestic violence; Michael Shaw, the co-director of the Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Services at Waypoint in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, which provides shelter and support to survivors of domestic violence or sexual assault; Julie Poner, of Indianapolis, Indiana, who will share her experience with VAWA; and Eileen Larence, the Director for Homeland Security and Justice at the U.S. Government Accountability Office, which has released studies on the prevalence of violence against women and on the programs supported by VAWA.

The Violence Against Women Act was first signed into law in 1994, and Leahy worked with former Senator Joe Biden to reauthorize the law in 2000 and 2005.  In past years, he has authored legislation to strengthen VAWA.  He has chaired several hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee about the importance of the law, particularly in difficult economic times.

The hearing is entitled “The Violence Against Women Act: Building on Seventeen Years of Accomplishments, and will be held Wednesday, July 13, at 10:00 a.m.  The hearing will be webcast live online

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