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Keep Shelters of Domestic Abuse Open

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National Organization for Women or NOW, recently issued an action alert involving the fact that the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA), expired in 2008 and desperately needs to be reauthorized this year. There is a Senate committee that is presently drafting its version, but House bill (H.R. 4116), sponsored by Gwen Moore, (D-Wis.), is in need of everyone's support.
NOW is urging the public to contact their representatives, and tell them to sponsor this bill that will reauthorize and improve the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act. Thank your representatives if they are already co-sponsors.

Exactly what is FVPSA? It is a "federal program that funds domestic violence shelters and supports services such as counseling, crisis hotlines, basic needs and legal advocacy for survivors of domestic abuse," according to NOW. If Congress does not reauthorize FVPSA, more than 2,000 shelters in the U.S. and millions of women and children might well be left without assistance. NOW says that the economic recession is contributing to more abusive behavior, and therefore support of these shelters is essential.

FVPSA was passed in 1984 as part of the Child Abuse Amendment. It was part of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in 1994, and again approved in 2003 as part of the Keeping Children and Families Safe Act. If indeed it is reauthorized in 2010, FVPSA will approve $250 million a year for shelters and outreach organizations that assist survivors of domestic violence. It will help with new programs to prevent children in abusive homes from carrying on the cycle of violence as adults. It will finance intervention, job training for survivors of domestic abuse, school prevention projects, and development of parenting skills. It will update the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
NOW says, "With domestic violence affecting so many women and children, NOW activists must demand that Congress pass the FVPSA reauthorization (H.R. 4116) in order to provide support to survivors of abuse and also to prevent domestic violence from continuing.

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