By: Rachel L. MSW, LMSW
The United States Senate will consider a bill to re-authorize the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA) S.47 on Monday, February 4th. Last spring Congress failed to reauthorize the act for the first time since its initial passing in 1994. The House GOP blocked the bill’s passage because they objected to additional provisions that would extend protections and services to immigrant women, Native American women on reservations, and the LGBT community.
The difference between the 2013 version of the bill and the failed 2012 bill is that this time it does not include increasing the number of U Visas for immigrant survivors of domestic violence. This change was made in an attempt to prevent a blue slip problem.
S.47 was introduced by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) on January 22nd and so far has 59 cosponsors. On that same day Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI) introduced the House version of the bill, H.R.11, which currently has 158 cosponsors.
The Office of Violence Against Women (OVA), which is part of the Department of Justice, is responsible for implementing VAWA. You can find out more, including past reports on the effectiveness of programs funded though VAWA, at the OVA website.
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Photo Credit: By U.S. Senate photo; sculptor unknown (Eagle and Shield (direct image URL ).) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e2/US_Senate_Eagle_and_Shield_gilded_wood.jpg