17th District Congresswoman Cheri Bustos is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act by touring domestic violence centers in the area.
Bustos made a stop at the Peoria Center for Prevention of Abuse. She discussed the center’s needs with staff and helped put toiletry kits together for those seeking help at the facility. Bustos says the fight against domestic violence has drastically changed since the Act’s inception.
“Believe it or not, if you go back prior to the Violence Against Women Act, women would actually have to pay to proceed with orders of protection. Believe it or not, 20 years ago, women actually had to pay for the rape kits. You think about how far we’ve come in 20 years, those [things]are the results of having good legislation.”
Officials at the Center for Prevention of Abuse say the Violence Against Women Act created critical protections for victims of domestic violence and strengthened the nation’s criminal justice response to violence against women. But they say more money is needed to boost prevention programs for school children. They say the center sees 15 new people a day seeking services.