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Violence Against Women Bill Fails to Address Fraud
Posted By Sarah Torre On April 24, 2012 @ 11:38 am In Featured | Comments Disabled
The Senate is poised to consider S. 1925  this week, the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Despite the law’s good intentions, more recent reauthorizations—including the bill before the Senate—are seriously flawed and veer away from the legislation’s original goals of protecting vulnerable women.
As Heritage research fellow David Muhlhausen and Independent Women’s Forum visiting fellow Christina Villegas explain  in a recent Heritage Backgrounder, the problems with S. 1925 are significant. In addition to broadening the classes of covered victims to include men and prisoners and expanding existing, duplicative programs, S. 1925 fails to rectify VAWA’s inadequate accountability measures—while increasing direct spending by more than $100 million .
As recent investigations by the Department of Justice (DOJ) have revealed, disturbing instances of fraud and embezzlement of some Office on Violence Against Women grants have marred the original law’s intentions. For instance:
As Muhlhausen and Villegas explain, existing VAWA programs should be adequately evaluated rather than expanded:
Nationally representative, scientifically rigorous impact evaluations should be used to determine whether these national grant programs actually produce their intended effects. Obviously, there is little merit in the continuation of programs that fail to ameliorate the social problems they target.
Unfortunately, the bill before the Senate does not address VAWA’s lack of accountability. Instead, it expands the scope of the law and already existing programs, handing more power over violence reduction efforts to the federal government.
“Using federal agencies and grant programs to fund the routine operations of domestic violence programs that state and local governments themselves could provide is a misuse of federal resources and a distraction from concerns that truly are the province of the federal government,” Muhlhausen and Villegas explain. “Simply expanding the VAWA framework with extensive new provisions and programs that have been inadequately assessed is sure to facilitate waste, fraud, and abuse and will not better protect women or victims of violence generally.”
No one questions the need to support and defend all victims of violence, especially women. Nor does anyone doubt the sincere goals of the original Violence Against Women Act. But good intentions alone cannot fix the substantive problems with the VAWA reauthorization and will not bring the most effective, efficient protection to vulnerable women. Congress should demand better evaluations of existing VAWA programs, reduce program duplication, and recognize that state and local governments are better suited to address violent crimes.
Article printed from The Foundry: Conservative Policy News Blog from The Heritage Foundation: http://blog.heritage.org
URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2012/04/24/violence-against-women-bill-fails-to-address-fraud/
URLs in this post:
 Image: http://blog.heritage.org/wp-content/uploads/violence-women.jpg
 S. 1925: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/s1925
 explain: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2012/03/the-violence-against-women-act-reauthorization-fundamentally-flawed
 increasing direct spending by more than $100 million: http://www.cbo.gov/publication/43149
 embezzled almost $160,000 in federal grant funds: http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2012/March/12-crm-386.html
 report: http://www.justice.gov/oig/reports/2012/g4012001.pdf
 DOJ audit: http://www.justice.gov/oig/grants/2012/g6012008.pdf
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