The state has some of the nation’s highest rates of domestic violence, sexual assault and murder. affecting women of all ages, across ethnic and socioeconomic spectrums. “If Alaska was a Third World country…they’d declare a humanitarian crisis,” said one activist.
Former Vice President Joe Biden says the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 is his proudest legislative achievement. It’s not clear whether the law is responsible for a big drop in domestic violence case. Many other kinds of crime dropped during the same period.
The House approved an extension of the federal Violence Against Women Act. The law’s future now rests in the Senate, where Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Joni Ernst (R-IA) are working on a re-draft amid objections from the National Rifle Association and other conservatives.
The lack of police resources in Alaska’s remote rural communities puts women at special risk, according to speakers at a panel co-sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Mission to the United Nations. Native females are the most vulnerable.
Erin Cox, a U.S. Attorney in Northern Texas, is leading the way with 23 prosecutions for unlawful gun possession despite a prior domestic violence conviction. Four years earlier, there were only 23 such cases in the entire U.S.