H.R. 5905 (112th): International Violence Against Women Act of 2012

112th Congress, 2011–2013. Text as of Jun 07, 2012 (Introduced).

Status & Summary | PDF | Source: GPO

I

112th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 5905

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

June 7, 2012

(for herself, Mrs. Lowey, Mr. Berman, Mr. Ackerman, Ms. Bass of California, Ms. Bordallo, Mrs. Capps, Mr. Carnahan, Ms. Clarke of New York, Ms. DeLauro, Mr. Frank of Massachusetts, Mr. Grijalva, Mr. Hinchey, Ms. Jackson Lee of Texas, Mr. Larson of Connecticut, Ms. Lee of California, Mrs. Maloney, Ms. McCollum, Mr. McGovern, Mr. George Miller of California, Ms. Moore, Mr. Moran, Mr. Murphy of Connecticut, Mrs. Napolitano, Ms. Norton, Mr. Rangel, Ms. Richardson, Mr. Sherman, Ms. Slaughter, Ms. Speier, Mr. Stark, Ms. Wasserman Schultz, Ms. Woolsey, Mr. Lewis of Georgia, Ms. Edwards, Mr. Larsen of Washington, Mr. Cicilline, Ms. Hirono, Mr. Olver, Ms. DeGette, and Mr. Welch) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs

A BILL

To combat international violence against women and girls.

1.

Short title; table of contents

(a)

Short title

This Act may be cited as the International Violence Against Women Act of 2012.

(b)

Table of contents

The table of contents for this Act is as follows:

Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.

Sec. 2. Findings.

Sec. 3. Statement of policy.

Sec. 4. Office for Global Women’s Issues.

Sec. 5. Comprehensive international strategy and assistance to reduce and prevent violence against women and girls.

Sec. 6. Assistance to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls internationally.

Sec. 7. Ensuring accountability of the United States response to violence against women and girls internationally.

Sec. 8. Enhancing United States training of foreign military and police forces and judicial officials on violence against women and girls.

Sec. 9. Addressing violence against women and girls in humanitarian relief, peacekeeping, conflict, and postconflict settings.

2.

Findings

Congress makes the following findings:

(1)

Approximately 1 out of every 3 women throughout the world will be beaten, experience physical or sexual violence, or be otherwise abused in her lifetime. The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that up to 70 percent of women in some countries report having been victims of domestic violence at some stage in their lives.

(2)

The status of women is an indicator for the overall direction of society, serving as a valuable barometer for social unrest and instability.

(3)

Addressing women’s and girls’ rights can improve security as World Bank data shows a strong correlation between gender inequality and violence within a state.

(4)

Violence against women and girls dramatically impedes progress in meeting all of our global health goals, including efforts to stem maternal mortality and the spread of HIV/AIDS. Approximately 1 in 4 women are abused during pregnancy, which, according to WHO, has been linked to miscarriage, preterm labor, low birth weight, fetal distress, and death. Women who have experienced violence are also at higher risk for contracting HIV, and women living with HIV may be up to 3 times more likely to experience violence than other women. Fear of violence also prevents women from accessing HIV/AIDS information and receiving treatment and counseling.

(5)

Increasing women’s access to economic opportunities is crucial to preventing and responding to domestic and sexual violence. Microfinance-based interventions and increased asset control reduce levels of intimate partner violence and provide economic independence for survivors.

(6)

Displaced, refugee, and stateless women and girls in humanitarian emergencies, conflict settings, and natural disasters face extreme violence and threats because of power inequities, including—

(A)

being forced to exchange sex for food and humanitarian supplies; and

(B)

being at increased risk of rape, sexual exploitation, and abuse.

(7)

Rape and sexual assault against women and girls are used to torture, intimidate, and terrorize women and their communities.

(8)

Research shows that working with men and boys to change attitudes towards women can have a profound impact on reducing violence against women.

(9)

According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), child marriage—

(A)

is a harmful practice that deprives girls of their dignity and human rights;

(B)

can result in bonded labor or enslavement, commercial sexual exploitation, and violence against the victims;

(C)

significantly increases the risk of maternal death and morbidity, infant mortality and morbidity, obstetric fistula, and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS; and

(D)

is perpetuated by poverty, a lack of educational or employment opportunities for girls, parental concerns to ensure sexual relations within marriage, the dowry system, and the perceived lack of value of girls.

3.

Statement of policy

It is the policy of the United States to—

(1)

systematically integrate and coordinate efforts to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls internationally into United States foreign policy and foreign assistance programs;

(2)

promote women’s political, economic, educational, social, cultural, civil, and human rights and opportunities throughout the world;

(3)

support and build capacity of indigenous nongovernmental organizations that are working to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls internationally, particularly women’s nongovernmental organizations and groups involving male advocates;

(4)

prevent and respond to violence against women and girls internationally through multisectoral methods, working at individual, family, community, local, national, and international levels and incorporating service, prevention, training, and advocacy activities and economic, education, health, legal, and protective intervention services;

(5)

enhance training and other prevention and response to violence against women and girls internationally in humanitarian relief, conflict, and post-conflict settings;

(6)

enhance training by United States personnel of professional foreign military and police forces and judicial officials to include specific and thorough instruction on preventing and responding to violence against women and girls internationally;

(7)

more regularly engage men and boys as community leaders, partners, and advocates in ending violence against women and girls;

(8)

support efforts to end child marriage as an important part of preventing violence against girls by promoting education and skills building for girls, community programs, and increased economic opportunities for women to achieve development objectives; and

(9)

ensure that private security firms contracted for service in conflict, humanitarian, and postconflict settings appropriately report on, and respond to, violence against women and girls internationally.

4.

Office for Global Women’s Issues

(a)

Establishment

The Secretary of State shall establish in the Office of the Secretary of the Department of State an Office for Global Women’s Issues (in this section referred to as the Office). The Office shall be headed by an Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues (in this section referred to as the Ambassador-at-Large), who shall be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. The Ambassador-at-Large shall report directly to the Secretary and shall have the rank and status of Ambassador-at-Large.

(b)

Purpose

In addition to the duties described in subsection (c) and those duties determined by the Secretary of State, the Office shall coordinate efforts of the United States Government regarding gender integration and empowerment of women in United States foreign policy.

(c)

Duties

(1)

In general

The Ambassador-at-Large—

(A)

shall coordinate and advise on activities, policies, programs, and funding relating to gender integration and empowerment of women internationally, including those intended to prevent and respond to violence against women, for all bureaus and offices of the Department of State and in the international programs of other United States Government departments and agencies;

(B)

shall actively promote and advance the full integration of gender analysis into the programs, structures, processes, and capacities of all bureaus and offices of the Department of State and in the international programs of other United States Government departments and agencies;

(C)

shall direct, as appropriate, United States Government resources to respond to needs for gender integration and empowerment of women in United States Government foreign policies and international programs, including to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls internationally; and

(D)

may design, support, and implement activities regarding empowerment of women internationally, including for the prevention and response of violence against women and girls internationally.

(2)

Coordinating role

The Ambassador-at-Large shall coordinate and consult with all relevant United States Government departments and agencies, particularly the United States Agency for International Development, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, and the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator, on all policies, programs, and funding of such departments and agencies relating to gender integration and empowerment of women, including ending violence against women and girls internationally.

(3)

Diplomatic representation

Subject to the direction of the President and the Secretary of State, the Ambassador-at-Large is authorized to represent the United States in matters relevant to the status of women, including violence against women and girls internationally.

(d)

Reports

Subject to the guidance of the Ambassador-at-Large, the heads of all bureaus and offices of the Department of State, as appropriate, shall evaluate and monitor all empowerment of women programs administered by such bureaus and offices and annually submit to the Ambassador-at-Large reports containing an accounting of such programs and their effectiveness.

(e)

Planning and budgeting

The Secretary of State and the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development shall fully integrate gender into all diplomatic and development efforts of the Department of State and the United States Agency for International Development, respectively, through the inclusion of gender in strategic planning and budget allocations, and the development of indicators and evaluation mechanisms to measure the impact of United States policies and programs on women and girls in foreign countries.

(f)

Monitoring and evaluation

(1)

In general

The Office shall seek to coordinate with United States Government departments and agencies and should provide advice and guidance, as necessary, to United States Government departments and agencies engaged in international programs, to monitor and evaluate empowerment of women programs and outcomes and impacts of such programs, including programs such departments and agencies administer for prevention and response to violence against women and girls internationally.

(2)

Report

The heads of United States Government departments and agencies with international programs described in paragraph (1) shall provide to the Office on an annual basis information on empowerment of women programs and outcomes and impacts of such programs, including for prevention and response to violence against women and girls internationally, in order to contribute to the development and implementation of the comprehensive strategy required under section 5.

(g)

Authorization of appropriations

There is authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary, under the heading Diplomatic and Consular Programs, to carry out activities under this section. Funds appropriated pursuant to this subsection are in addition to amounts otherwise available for such purposes.

5.

Comprehensive international strategy and assistance to reduce and prevent violence against women and girls

(a)

Development and implementation of strategy

Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State, with the assistance of the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, shall—

(1)

develop a comprehensive, 5-year international strategy to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls internationally;

(2)

submit the strategy developed under paragraph (1) to the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate and the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives; and

(3)

make the strategy available to the public.

(b)

Collaboration and coordination

In developing the strategy under subsection (a), the Secretary of State shall consult with—

(1)

Federal departments and agencies that have expertise in preventing and responding to violence against women and girls or administering international programs; and

(2)

representatives of civil society organizations with demonstrated experience in combating violence against women and girls or promoting women’s health or women’s development issues internationally.

(c)

Content

The strategy developed under subsection (a) shall—

(1)

identify eligible countries (not classified as high-income countries in the most recent edition of the World Development Report for Reconstruction and Development, published by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development) with significant levels of violence against women and girls that have the government or nongovernmental organizational capacity to manage and implement gender-based violence prevention and response program activities and should, when possible, be geographically, ethnically, and culturally diverse from one another;

(2)

select at least 5 of the eligible countries identified under paragraph (1) in which to develop a comprehensive and holistic individual country plan that incorporates at least 2 of the program activities listed in subsection (d);

(3)

assess and describe the current or potential capacity of the government of each eligible country selected under paragraph (2) and civil society organizations in each such eligible country to address and respond to violence against women and girls;

(4)

identify and coordinate with Federal departments and agencies that—

(A)

have existing programs relevant to the strategy;

(B)

will be involved in new program activities; and

(C)

coordinate with broader United States strategies around development;

(5)

describe the monitoring and evaluation mechanisms established for each eligible country, and their use in assessing overall progress in prevention and response;

(6)

project general levels of resources needed to achieve the stated objectives in each eligible country, including an accounting of—

(A)

activities and funding already expended by the Department of State, the United States Agency for International Development, other Federal departments and agencies, other donor country governments, and other multilateral institutions; and

(B)

leveraged private sector resources;

(7)

include capacity-building and technical assistance for community-based women’s nongovernmental organizations and community-based organizations with demonstrated experience relating to prevention and response, including combating violence against women and girls internationally;

(8)

identify and coordinate with existing nongovernmental and multilateral programs, initiatives, and groups with demonstrated experience in prevention and response internationally, particularly coordinating with women’s organizations and community-based groups;

(9)

integrate gender analysis into the strategy for each country to ensure that the roles of women, girls, men, and boys are appropriately addressed; and

(10)

include, as appropriate, strategies designed to accommodate the needs of stateless, internally displaced, refugee, religious, or ethnic minority women and girls.

(d)

Program activities supported

The strategy developed under subsection (a) for an eligible country shall contain a country plan that incorporates at least two of the following program activities:

(1)

Development and enforcement of civil and criminal legal and judicial sanctions, protections, training, and capacity.

(2)

Development and implementation of programs, including programs targeting men and boys and media campaigns, that work to change social norms and attitudes so that violence against women and girls is neither condoned nor tolerated.

(3)

Ensuring accessible quality educational and literacy opportunities for women and girls.

(4)

Promotion of access to economic opportunity projects, including increasing distribution, credit, property, and inheritance rights for women and girls.

(5)

Enhancing the capacity of the health sector to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls.

(6)

Supporting the elimination of obstacles faced by women to political participation to encourage democratic principles.

6.

Assistance to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls internationally

(a)

In general

The Secretary of State and the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development are authorized to provide assistance pursuant to the comprehensive international strategy developed under section 5 for eligible countries identified and selected under such section, including to support program activities described in subsection (d) of such section. Assistance under this section shall be provided through Department of State and United States Agency for International Development implementing agencies, including local and international civil society organizations, multilateral institutions, and governments of eligible countries, in accordance with existing procedures.

(b)

Coordination of existing assistance programs

The Secretary of State and the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development shall, to the maximum extent practicable, coordinate programs, projects, and activities under this section with other programs, projects, and activities to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls internationally under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2151 et seq.) and other foreign assistance laws, as applicable.

(c)

Use of funds

Any funds made available under this section to nongovernmental or civil society organizations should be made available to organizations that—

(1)

have demonstrated experience regarding violence against women and girls internationally or have entered into a partnership with an organization with such experience; and

(2)

have demonstrated capabilities or experience in a particular program activity described in section 5(d).

(d)

Congressional briefings

The Secretary of State and the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development shall brief Congress upon request, on the transparent mechanisms used to ensure that funds made available under this section through nongovernmental organizations are awarded to organizations described in subsection (c).

(e)

Grants to women’s nongovernmental organizations and community-Based organizations

To the extent possible, 10 percent of the amount of assistance provided to an eligible country under this section should be provided to community-based organizations, including community-based women’s nongovernmental organizations. The Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development shall brief Congress, upon request, on efforts made to assist such organizations to be eligible for such assistance.

(f)

Award process

Assistance provided under this section shall be provided through an open, competitive, and transparent process to the extent possible.

(g)

Conditions

A recipient of assistance under this section—

(1)

where possible, shall allocate a reasonable portion of such grants for data collection and the evaluation of program effectiveness;

(2)

shall be responsible for developing and reporting on outcomes and impacts relating to preventing and responding to violence against women and girls internationally;

(3)

should gather input from women’s nongovernmental organizations or community-based organizations in recipient countries, including organizations with experience in working with men and boys to prevent violence; and

(4)

shall consider the safety of women and girls as a primary concern in deciding how to design, implement, monitor, and evaluate programs.

7.

Ensuring accountability of the United States response to violence against women and girls internationally

(a)

Amendments

The Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 is amended—

(1)

in section 116(d) (22 U.S.C. 2151n(d)), by adding at the end the following:

(g)

The report required by subsection (d) shall include, wherever applicable, the nature and extent of violence against women and girls.

(h)

The report required by subsection (d) shall include, for each country in which child marriage is prevalent, a description of the status of the practice of child marriage in such country. In this subsection, the term child marriage means the marriage of a girl or boy, who has not attained the age of 18 but who has attained the minimum age for marriage stipulated in law or who has not attained the age of 18 if no such law exists, in the country in which such girl or boy is a resident.

; and

(2)

in section 502B (22 U.S.C. 2304), by adding at the end the following:

(j)

The report required by subsection (b) shall include, wherever applicable, the nature and extent of violence against women and girls.

(k)

The report required by subsection (b) shall include, for each country in which child marriage is prevalent, a description of the status of the practice of child marriage in such country. In this subsection, the term child marriage means the marriage of a girl or boy, who has not attained the age of 18 but who has attained the minimum age for marriage stipulated in law or who has not attained the age of 18 if no such law exists, in the country in which such girl or boy is a resident.

.

(b)

Transparency

Upon request, the Secretary of State shall provide to Congress the information made available under sections 5(b) and 6(b), including outcomes and impacts related to prevention and response to violence against women and girls internationally submitted by contractors, subcontractors, grantees, and subgrantees, unless such disclosure would inhibit the security or effectiveness of such entities.

(c)

Research and data collection

The Secretary of State, with assistance from the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development and in consultation with the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Attorney General—

(1)

shall seek to coordinate data collection and evaluations of international violence against women and girls programs; and

(2)

may provide financial assistance for original research or analysis of effective interventions to prevent or respond to violence against women and girls internationally.

(d)

Use of funds

Amounts authorized to be appropriated in this section may be used to—

(1)

collect and analyze new or existing data on the scope and extent of all forms of violence against women and girls internationally, including under documented forms of violence and violence against marginalized groups;

(2)

conduct research on effective interventions to respond to violence against women and girls internationally, including efforts to scaleup effective programming; and

(3)

support systemic data collection using internationally comparable indicators, norms, and methodologies for measuring the scope, prevalence, and incidence of violence against women and girls internationally.

8.

Enhancing United States training of foreign military and police forces and judicial officials on violence against women and girls

(a)

Purpose

The purpose of this section is to ensure that United States programs to train foreign military, police, and judicial officials include instruction on prevention of and response to violence against women and girls.

(b)

Guidance

The Secretary of State is authorized to provide guidance to the Secretary of Defense, as appropriate, on how to—

(1)

incorporate training on prevention and response to violence against women and girls into the basic training curricula of foreign military forces, police forces, and judicial officials under covered programs;

(2)

ensure that assistance under covered programs to units involved in regional or multilateral peacekeeping operations includes training on prevention and response to violence against women and girls; and

(3)

engage community-based nongovernmental organizations in the monitoring of actions taken by foreign military forces, police forces, and judicial officials to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls.

(c)

Covered programs

The programs referred to in subsection (a) include—

(1)

programs carried out by the Secretary of Defense under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2151 et seq.); and

(2)

programs authorized under section 1206 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006 (Public Law 109–163; Stat. 3456).

9.

Addressing violence against women and girls in humanitarian relief, peacekeeping, conflict, and postconflict settings

(a)

Activities of the department of state with USAID

The Secretary of State and the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development shall ensure that—

(1)

assistance made available for humanitarian relief, conflict mitigation, and post-conflict reconstruction—

(A)

prevents and responds to violence against women and girls;

(B)

builds the capacity of local partners to address the special protection needs of women and children;

(C)

supports survivors of violence through education, essential medical and psychosocial assistance, trauma counseling, family and community reinsertion and reunification, and economic opportunity programs; and

(D)

provides legal services for women and girls who are victims of violence;

(2)

assistance made available for disarmament, demobilization, rehabilitation, and reintegration—

(A)

provides protection and suitable separate facilities in demobilization and transit centers for women and girls formerly involved in, or associated with, fighting forces;

(B)

offers equitable opportunities for such women and girls, including access to schooling, vocational training, employment, and childcare;

(C)

provides essential medical care and psychosocial support for such women and girls; and

(D)

incorporates efforts to prevent future violence against women and girls by former combatants;

(3)

specialists in violence against women and girls are designated and deployed, as appropriate, as an integral part of Disaster Assistance Response Teams to ensure the integration of prevention and response to violence against women and girls internationally in strategies and programming; and

(4)

contractors, grantees, and governments that carry out programs with United States assistance—

(A)

train humanitarian workers in preventing and responding to violence against women and girls, including in the use of mechanisms to report violence against women and girls;

(B)

conduct appropriate public outreach to make known to the host community the mechanisms to report violence against women and girls; and

(C)

promptly and appropriately respond to reports of violence against women and girls and treat survivors in accordance with best practices regarding confidentiality.

(b)

Coordination of united states government efforts

The Secretary of State shall regularly consult with the Secretary of Defense and the Attorney General to coordinate design and implementation of programs relevant to the purposes of this section.

(c)

Sense of congress regarding accountability of united nations peacekeeping and police forces and their capacity To address violence against women and girls

It is the sense of Congress that the Secretary of State should encourage the Secretary-General of the United Nations to continue to strengthen the ability of the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Field Support to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls by—

(1)

requiring troop and police contributing countries to properly train their forces deployed in United Nations peacekeeping operations on the United Nations guidance regarding violence against women and girls, including sexual exploitation and abuse;

(2)

ensuring effective implementation of the zero tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse in United Nations peacekeeping and humanitarian operations; and

(3)

supporting the expansion of the role and number of female officers in all United Nations peacekeeping missions, whether as military or police forces, civilian staff or military observers.

(d)

Emergency response to credible reports of critical or widespread violence against women and girls

(1)

In general

The Secretary of State, acting through the heads of relevant bureaus and offices of the Department of State, shall—

(A)

identify critical or widespread incidents of violence against women and girls in situations of armed conflict when such incidents occur, through consultation with other Federal departments and agencies, the United Nations, international organizations, and nongovernmental organizations;

(B)

determine emergency response measures not later than 45 days after such identification; and

(C)

brief Congress, upon request, on the implementation of such emergency response measures and outcomes not later than 90 days after such determination.

(2)

Content

The emergency measures developed under paragraph (1) shall include a description of bilateral diplomatic efforts with—

(A)

the government of the country in which the violence is occurring;

(B)

governments in the region in which the violence is occurring; and

(C)

other donor governments.