The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) 2010 Summary Report.
The findings of the report show that throughout the course of a year an average of 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States.
Given this rate, more than 12 million women and men will be victims of sexual or domestic violence or stalking by an intimate partner within a single year.
For both women and men, the impact of intimate partner violence, sexual violence and stalking is devastating. Physical injuries are the most obvious results of the violence, but the study documented that victims experience more long-term symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, frequent headaches, difficulty sleeping, and generally worse physical and mental health when compared with those who have not experienced such violence.
Even more alarming is the finding that women are disproportionately impacted by violence, experiencing higher rates of severe intimate partner violence, sexual violence and stalking, and suffering more long-term chronic illness and other health impacts.
These findings serve to underscore the very serious needs of victims in Wisconsin, and the importance of ensuring that victims of sexual and interpersonal violence as well as stalking receive the best and most meaningful response from our criminal justice system.
Through our Violence Against Women Resource Prosecutor (VAWRP) project, the Department of Justice (DOJ) provides ongoing technical assistance to help local district attorneys’ offices investigate and successfully prosecute domestic violence, sexual violence and stalking cases using best practices and collaborative community models.
The DOJ’s Office of Crime Victim Services (OCVS) helps victims understand their rights and access the assistance they deserve. The OCVS also provides federal grant money to domestic violence and sexual assault advocacy centers throughout the state to ensure that victims receive the necessary community support.
The Wisconsin DOJ has joined with other Attorneys General across the U.S. to urge Congress to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), a comprehensive legislative package designed to end violence against women.
Reauthorization of VAWA will reaffirm our commitment to protecting women who so disproportionately experience sexual violence, domestic violence and stalking.
J.B. Van Hollen is attorney general of the state of Wisconsin.