80th Annual Meeting


WHEREAS, domestic violence remains one of the most pervasive crimes in the United States, in that one in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime; an estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year; 85 percent of domestic violence victims are women; most cases of domestic violence are never reported to the police; intimate partner violence made up 20 percent of all non-fatal violent crime experienced by women; almost one-third of female homicide victims that are reported in police records are killed by an intimate partner; and approximately one-half of the orders obtained by women against intimate partners who physically assaulted them were violated; and

WHEREAS, rape and sexual assault continue to be pervasive crimes that are perpetually under-reported and under-prosecuted in that approximately 2.3 million people each year are raped and/or physically assaulted by a current or former partner; nearly one in five women report that they have been victims of rape; nearly two-thirds of all rapes are committed by someone known to the victim; approximately 60 percent of rapes committed are not reported to the police; one of every four reported rapes leads to an arrest; one of every four arrests leads to a felony conviction and incarceration; and

WHEREAS, in 2012 the Department of Justice announced revisions to the Uniform Crime Reportís (UCR) definition of rape; the revised definition is likely to result in a more comprehensive statistical reporting of rape; the UCR will be more inclusive of the scope and volume of these crimes; and the U.S. Conference of Mayorís supports this revised definition and the effort to include all rapes in the statistical reporting of this crime; and

WHEREAS, the economic impact of these crimes to society and to individuals is tremendous, in that the cost of intimate partner violence annually exceeds $5.8 billion, including $4.1 billion in direct health care expenses; and victims of sexual assault are three times more likely to suffer from depression, six times more likely to suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, 13 times more likely to abuse alcohol, 26 times more likely to abuse drugs, andfour times more likely to contemplate suicide; and

WHEREAS, additional resources are needed to address these crimes in that 14 percent of all unsolved homicides and 18 percent of unsolved rapes contained evidence that was not submitted by law enforcement agencies to crime labs for analysis; onlyfour out of 10 law enforcement agencies have a computerized system for tracking forensic evidence either in their inventory or after it is sent to the crime lab; and policies and practices for evidence retention vary widely from jurisdiction to jurisdiction; and

WHEREAS, national studies have shown that cases in which a rape kit was collected and tested are more likely to result in prosecution and conviction; and

WHEREAS, according to recent studies there is still an estimated 180,000 to 400,000 untested rape kits in the United States; and

WHEREAS, there are steps that law enforcement agencies, forensic laboratories and prosecutors can take to improve the use of forensic evidence, including increased training for law enforcement on the benefits and use of forensic evidence and guidelines for prioritizing cases for analysis; development of protocols to ensure timely submission of evidence to the lab; and standardized policies for evidence retention; and

WHEREAS, training law enforcement on topics related to Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault will provide all officers with the skills necessary to appropriately respond to and process evidence from these crimes; and

WHEREAS, jurisdictions that have introduced pro-active protocols and training, and timely testing of forensic evidence, have experienced an increase in the number of cases reported to law enforcement, and an increase in prosecutions; and

WHEREAS, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), enacted in 1994, recognizes the insidious and pervasive nature of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking and supports comprehensive, effective and cost saving responses to these crimes; VAWA programs, administered by the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services, give law enforcement, prosecutors and judges the tools needed to hold offenders accountable and keep communities safe while supporting victims; and recertification of the Act is currently being debated; and

WHEREAS, legislation passed by the House to reauthorize the Violence Against  Women Act would roll back confidentiality protections that enable undocumented women to safely come forward and report violent crimes; and

WHEREAS, the designation of October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, February as Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, and the annual designation of a day in April as Denim Day, are all important public awareness campaigns that seek to inform the public and law enforcement about the critical nature of these crimes, the need for more attention and resources to these cases, and the importance of public support for the investment of more resources,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that The United States Conference of Mayors supports the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the U.S. Conference of Mayors supports provisions in the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization that would provide additional ways for law enforcement to work with undocumented victims to investigate and prosecute serious crimes and allow the Department of Homeland Security to draw from a pool of previously authorized but never used U visas so that law enforcement officers have the tools to work with victims and bring violent offenders to justice; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The United States Conference of Mayors encourages cities, counties and states to support the dedication of resources to DNA testing in Domestic Violence and/or Sexual Assault cases, and the complete elimination of DNA rape kit backlogs that exist around the nation; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The United States Conference of Mayors supports increased funding for prevention programs and sexual assault and domestic violence awareness programs; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The United States Conference of Mayors endorses increasing training opportunities and training requirements for law enforcement agencies around the country in responding to Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault cases and processing DNA evidence related to these crimes; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The United States Conference of Mayors supports the efforts of states and local government to test every rape kit, regardless of the age of the case; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The United States Conference of Mayors supports the designation of October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, February as Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, and the annual designation of a day in April as Denim Day, as vital aspects of a public awareness campaign aimed at addressing domestic violence, sexual assault, and crimes against women.


RESOLUTION ADOPTED JUNE 2012