I want to join in thanking Senator Leahy and Senator Crapo for their leadership and all the Senators that are here today on a bipartisan basis for their leadership in seeking the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.
I'll never forget, I was a relatively-new prosecutor, and in fact my background is I was a murder prosecutor. I went to the first murder scene I had ever been too, and I'll never forget that scene because a woman named Traci Winship was the victim, and a man named James Golightly was the defendant and the perpetrator, and he murdered her and then murdered himself. And I will never forget it because we went up into the scene; it was in the upstairs room of her house. She had a restraining order against him. He snuck into her house, went into the closet, and she went up into her room to get ready for bed, and he murdered her and then murdered himself. And I can only imagine, I remember walking into that scene thinking about the fear that she must have felt, even though she had a restraining order, when she saw him in her room.
In New Hampshire, just like in Maine, half of the murders that we have every year are domestic violence related. Victims come from every single demographic background, every single socioeconomic background, and absolutely it doesn't matter what your background is as a victim. If you are a victim of violence, then you should first of all get all of the support you need and deserve, you and your family, and also the defendants who commit these crimes need to be held accountable.
We need to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act because this continues to be a critical need in our country. I am hopeful that the Senate will take this up very quickly, that the House in turn will pass it quickly, and we will make sure that the Violence Against Women Act gets reauthorized.
I want to say one more thing. I had the privilege of working with our coalition against domestic and sexual violence when I was attorney general. I also had the opportunity to go to a support group meeting for victims of violence, and it's amazing the work done by our victim advocates every single day. You are the front line, and so I too want to express my gratitude for the difficult work, I think you have one of the most difficult jobs of any job. To deal with someone who first of all has been through so much pain, so much suffering, and has so much fear still because those perpetrator—they'll find a way to stalk these victims.
That's why the reauthorization of this act is also so important—to have support for our advocates and to recognize the importance of their work and to make sure that law enforcement and advocates have the right training and tools to address these types of crimes and to prevent them.
Speech taken from http://www.ayotte.senate.gov/?p=video&id=816