Arent Fox, Second Chance Employment Services, Lead Lobbying Efforts on Passage of Violence Against Women Act Provision

March 1, 2013

Washington, DC – On February 28, the US House of Representatives approved the renewal of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), sending the US Senate’s bipartisan measure to President Barack Obama for his signature. Arent Fox Government Relations partner Jon S. Bouker and director James A. Hunter advocated pro bono for the inclusion of a critical provision on behalf of Second Chance Employment Services, a Washington, DC-based nonprofit that has helped hundreds of women who were victims of domestic violence and human trafficking rebuild their lives by offering them job training and placement services.

The reauthorization of the 1994 legislation includes language that would, for the first time, allow nonprofits to apply for federal grants when working to help female victims of violence with employment training and placement services. Specifically, Section 602 of the bill (S. 47) would amend the Transitional Housing Assistance grant program to include “employment counseling, occupational training, job retention counseling, and counseling on re-entry in to the workforce” as activities eligible for federal funding.

“I am very proud of our work on this critical issue,” said Mr. Bouker, co-practice group leader. “Arent Fox worked with the Senate Judiciary Committee to refine the legislative language in Section 602 and helped Dr. Ludy Green, president and founder of Second Chance, to arrange meetings with members of Congress and their staffs to raise awareness of the role employment plays in helping to end the cycle of violence experienced by the victims Dr. Green assists.”

“We are thrilled that Congress recognized the need to expand employment opportunities for female victims of violence and are honored to have worked with Dr. Green and Second Chance to raise awareness of this important issue,” said Mr. Hunter. “This legislation will ensure that employment becomes a national priority in the fight against domestic violence.”

More broadly, the renewal of VAWA ensures that legal service providers, including The Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia, will continue to receive funding to help protect women from domestic violence by securing temporary and permanent orders of protection.

Second Chance provides a national model for financial empowerment envisioned by the domestic violence act. The organization is America’s only private nonprofit agency that focuses on helping abused women gain meaningful career positions with full health benefits. As a result, more than 800 women have found career-track positions through Second Chance. The nonprofit provides career counseling, interview training, meaningful employment through corporate partners, and continues into career tracking to ensure clients are meeting their goals.

Arent Fox’s Government Relations practice is one of the nation’s most experienced, effective, and respected lobbying organizations. The group represents clients before government entities on the federal, state, and local levels to help them achieve their public policy goals.