Editor: In the middle of this pandemic, Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton introduced legislation to give a leg up to law enforcement officers who are battling a surge in domestic violence in Virginia and the country at large. The Domestic Violence Public Health Emergency Guidance Act proves that the congresswoman knows what support these officers need and is committed to delivering it to them.
For months now, she has been out-front in articulating the needs of her constituents who face isolation, job losses, threats to business survival, fears about children and other family members, and food availability. Her bill introduced this week digs deeply into her experience as a prosecutor and private attorney whose job it was to shield the innocent, including children, from their abusers.
The bill directs federal agencies to issue best practice guidance to limit exposure to COVID-19 and better recognize and handle risk factors unique to the virus. During these critically challenging times, a resource guide would address how to de-escalate violence and provide resources for survivors.
Before introducing the bill, the congresswoman thought through how to get it passed by Congress. Her solution? First, she set out to gather support from law enforcement and domestic violence organizations and several dozen members of Congress. She accomplished both. Her next goal? She wants to attach the bill to the next round of CARES Act funding which would cover state and local firefighters, police officers, emergency medical services, and schools. Does her strategy make sense? You bet it does. It’s the kind of commonsense legislation I expect from my representative, and I’m thankful to have Congresswoman Wexton’s thoughtful approach to problems. Helping law enforcement and victims of abuse is a win for everyone.
Denise Pierce, Sterling