Senate votes to reauthorize Violence Against Women Act
April 27, 2012
The Senate on Thursday voted 68-31 to reauthorize an expanded version of the Violence Against Women Act, the landmark piece of legislation that provides essential funding and resources for services that help combat domestic abuse, sexual assault, and stalking.
The bill now goes to the House.
VAWA -- originally approved in 1994, and then reauthorized with bipartisan support in 2000 and 2005 -- has been extraordinarily successful. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the number of women killed by an intimate partner fell by roughly 34 percent between 1993 and 2008, while the number of nonfatal violent acts against women by intimate partners decreased by 53 percent.
The new version of VAWA both continues and strengthens previously proven measures, but also extends protections to several unprotected populations. For example, it would bar shelters from discriminating against domestic violence victims who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered. It would also allow battered illegal immigrants easier access to temporary visas, and support Native American tribes in working to protect Native American women from domestic and sexual violence on their private lands.
The Center for Inquiry (CFI) believes these are important expansions, and would like to thank everyone who filled out our action alert for the Senate vote. Your voice made a difference.
Unfortunately, despite making it through the Senate, VAWA faces an tougher battle in the House. This means it will be imperative that you contact your elected officials in the House and tell them to reauthorize VAWA.
We will let you when the House schedules a vote.