By: Rachel L. MSW, LMSW
For the first time in eighteen years, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was allowed to expire. While everyone was focusing on whether or not we would go over the fiscal cliff, another important law was waiting to be reauthorized. Introduced by then-Senator Joe Bidden, the Violence Against Women Act was originally signed into law in 1994 by President Bill Clinton. It was the first federal law to recognize domestic violence as a crime. It also expanded services and protections to millions of women experiencing family violence.
Last spring with support from both parties, the US Senate passed an updated version of the law that expanded services to the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) community, immigrants and Native Americans. House Republicans did not want to pass the revised bill and removed the newly protected groups from the House’s version of the bill. As a result, the Violence Against Women Act which had been twice before been reauthorized expired.
Supporters of VAWA promises to re-introduce the legislation when the 113th Congress goes into session. Until the law is reauthorized, states will have few resources available when it comes to dealing with domestic violence.
Jezebel quoted Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash):
“The House Republican leadership’s failure to take up and pass the Senate’s bipartisan and inclusive VAWA bill is inexcusable. This is a bill that passed with 68 votes in the Senate and that extends the bill’s protections to 30 million more women. But this seems to be how House Republican leadership operates. No matter how broad the bipartisan support, no matter who gets hurt in the process, the politics of the right wing of their party always comes first.” Read Full Article