In an overwhelming 78 to 22 bipartisan vote, the Senate passed VAWA. The Senate worked in a bipartisan manner to pass the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization of 2013, S. 47. The Senate bill incorporates input gathered from more than 2,000 victim advocacy groups, service providers and criminal justice professionals. The bill allocates critical resources needed to hold perpetrators accountable as well as expand services and protections to more victims from marginalized communitiesâ€“including LGBTQ, Native and immigrant.
The bill authorizes $659 million to be spent over five years towards VAWA programs such as law enforcement training, transitional housing for victims, a stalker database, legal assistance grants and domestic violence hotlines. This is a 17 percent reduction from the last reauthorization in 2005.
It is important to thank the seventy-eight (78) Senators who voted favorably and for their courage of conviction to stand with victims. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) exhibited unwavering leadership in shepherding this bill through the Senate.
As the bill advances in Congress, it is my hope that the House of Representatives will follow the Senateâ€™s model example of bipartisanship and work expeditiously to put forth the best policy benefiting all victims.
"VAWA has been around since 1994 when then-Senator Joe Biden negotiated the bill, but it failed to be renewed for the first time ever at the close of the last Congress due to Republican opposition to the inclusion of LGBT people, undocumented immigrants and Native Americans in the new bill. Now that the Senate has approved it, the pressure to advance it is back on the House, where GOP leaders are expected to come up with their own version of VAWA."
â€œNow the House must act immediately and pass the inclusive Senate reauthorization with a bipartisan vote,â€ said Ms. publisher and Feminist Majority Foundation president Ellie Smeal in a statement. â€œIt currently has 194 cosponsors in the House. The political games that have caused well over a yearâ€™s delay in passing this VAWA Reauthorization must stop. VAWA has been and must remain a bipartisan effort. Violence against women cannot, must not be politicized, trivialized, or tolerated.â€
Sources: National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Ms. Blog
Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art