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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 16, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 38
22nd Anniversary of Violence Against Women Act:

Sen. Patty Murray issues statement and HUD issues new guidelines
Section One
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22nd Anniversary of Violence Against Women Act:

Sen. Patty Murray issues statement and HUD issues new guidelines

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Washington's senior US senator, Patty Murray, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) both marked the 22nd anniversary of the landmark Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) on September 13.

'Ever since the Violence Against Women Act passed twenty-two years ago, women and families across the country have had an extra layer of protection and safety tools they need to get themselves out of dangerous domestic violence situations,' Murray said in a statement.

'This law has been a critical element in our work to protect women, hold abusers accountable, and help train law enforcement and other professionals to understand the unique challenges facing victims and survivors of violence. I am especially proud of my work in the last reauthorization to ensure that women from all backgrounds, including Native American women, are protected by these important VAWA provisions. I credit Deborah Parker of the Tulalip Tribes, who so bravely shared her personal story, with helping me to get this done - and I will make sure voices like hers continue to be heard in Congress.

'It is my hope that as we move forward to fight domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking, more women are empowered to come forward - to share their story like Deborah did, and to inspire others to take action to get themselves, or loved ones, out of dangerous situations. I stand proudly with those women who have endured abuse, and will keep fighting to get them the resources they need to get back on their feet.'

Murray led a two-year fight to reauthorize VAWA, finally pressuring Republican House leaders into allowing a vote on her bipartisan reauthorization bill in February 2013, after it had expired in 2011. The original bill was authored in 1994 by Joe Biden, then a senator from Delaware.

HUD marked the anniversary by issuing new guidelines making it easier for low-income women to get enforcement of Fair Housing Act provisions that protect them from sexual harassment and assault.

'On the 22nd anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act, HUD makes it clear that no one should have to choose between calling 9-1-1 and being evicted,' HUD Secretary Julián Castro said in a statement.

'A home should be a sanctuary where everyone can live without the threat of violence or harassment. The actions we take today will work together to protect the housing rights of victims of harassment and survivors of domestic violence.'

The new HUD rules set standards for evaluating claims of 'hostile environment harassment' and 'quid pro quo harassment' in housing.

'Hostile environment harassment' means subjecting a person to unwelcome conduct that is so severe or pervasive that it interferes with or deprives the person of the right to use and enjoy the housing.

'Quid pro quo harassment' involves unwelcome requests or demands - sexual favors, for example - that make housing conditional on submission.

The HUD rules also clarify when housing providers or agencies may be held liable under the Fair Housing Act for illegal harassment or other discriminatory housing practices.

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