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Murkowski Votes to Protect Women From Violence

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Murkowski today cast a vote for the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization bill she co-sponsored that would continue to support efforts and programs nationwide to combat and police domestic violence, as well as providing services and care for victims.  The bill passed the U.S. Senate 68-31.

In a dramatic speech prior to the vote, Senator Murkowski spoke of the human toll in Alaska, where domestic violence and sexual assaults are the highest in the nation.

“This evening 363 Alaskans will spend the night in an emergency domestic violence shelter or transitional housing provided by the Alaska domestic violence program. Programs like the Lake Shore Center in Kenai, the safe shelter in Dillingham, the wish shelter in Ketchikan, the AWAIC shelter in Anchorage. The number of Alaskans that are seeking shelter is rising on the order of 5 percent a year. These programs and the Alaskans who benefit from them are all supported by the Violence Against Women Act.”

The Senator also referenced recent concerns over the way VAWA was written that “appeared to repeal other existing tribal powers that are currently held by Alaska tribes.”  She continued to explain her work on this issue, adding “over the past couple of days I have been working along with Senator Begich to address this issue, and have worked on a technical correction to address the concern in a way that ensures that Alaska tribes lose none of the jurisdiction or authority that they have to issue or enforce domestic violence protection orders.”

She quoted a letter from Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska Central Council President Edward K. Thomas, who wrote to express his appreciation:

“On behalf of Tlingit Haida Central Council, please thank Senator Murkowski for her efforts in making this very important legislative relief available to Alaska Native women.  It is refreshing that the Senator is willing to take on tough political issues that are important to Alaska Natives… I see where your offices have had email transmittals and a letter expressing concern on the latest language changes.  Please be assured that those concerns are theirs alone, this letter is the only official tribal position.”

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