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July 18, 2005
Contact: Mark Rosenthal, <>

Family Groups Assail Senate VAWA Hearings

Washington, DC – The upcoming Senate hearings on the Violence Against Women Act are drawing fire from a broad range of groups who charge the July 19 hearings will provide the Senate Judiciary Committee members with incomplete and biased information about the proposed law.

This past Friday those groups released a letter to the Judiciary Committee, calling for it to “receive testimony from a diversity of witnesses, including male victims of domestic violence, women who can testify to the harm VAWA has done to them and their families, and researchers whose work is based on scientific principles rather than ideology.”

The letter is signed by 15 groups, including the Eagle Forum, American Coalition for Fathers and Children (ACFC), American Family Association, Coalitions for America, Religious Freedom Coalition, RADAR, Let Freedom Ring, Family Action Council International, Renew America, Population Research Institute, and others.

A full-page advertisement in last week's Washington Times Weekly Edition also targeted the Senate hearings, saying the hearings “only serve special interest groups.” The ad is sponsored by the Colorado-based Equal Justice Foundation.

“The Violence Against Women Act is deceptive in its purported aims and destructive to American families,” warns Stephen Baskerville, ACFC president. “Well-intentioned lawmakers are being misled about its purposes and effects.”

Women are also criticizing the proposed VAWA legislation. In her June 29 article Fox News columnist Wendy McElroy condemned the discriminatory nature of VAWA: “tax-funded domestic violence shelters and services assist women and routinely turn away men.”

And in her July 1 column, Kathleen Parker charged that VAWA has “demonized men and made women into martyrs and victims.”

RADAR, a group concerned about domestic violence bias, recently released a report that concludes, “VAWA tramples on persons' basic human rights, undermines the family, and makes a mockery of fairness and justice.” RADAR calls on lawmakers to “make sure VAWA helps all victims of domestic violence.” [http://www.mediaradar.org/RADAR_Analysis_of_VAWA.pdf].

Research shows that women are just as likely as men to commit domestic violence. “Family violence is an important social problem,” Baskerville notes, “but ignoring male victims leaves half the problem unsolved.”

R.A.D.A.R. – Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting – is a non-profit, non-partisan organization of men and women working to improve the effectiveness of our nation's approach to solving domestic violence. http://mediaradar.org.

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