Senate passes Violence Against Women Act

The Senate voted to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act today after fending off Republican attempts to remove protections for immigrants, Native American women, and LGBT individuals who are victims of domestic abuse or sexual violence. 

Senate Democrats were able to pass S. 1925 with the support of 15 Republicans; 31 GOP Senators voted against VAWA.

Republican lawmakers who voted no “effectively [turned] their backs on women who need this life-saving legislation,” said Terry O’Neill, President of the National Organization of Women.

VAWA is credited for drastically reducing domestic abuse and homicide rates since 1994. Despite the progress made, the Center for Disease Control estimated that 12 million American women are raped, beaten, or stalked by their domestic partners each year. VAWA’s reauthorization is required to continue funding for domestic abuse prosecution efforts and victim support programs.

“No one should suffer from domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence or stalking, which is why I applaud the passage of the bill to reauthorize the critical Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) through the Senate,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “This legislation originally transformed our nation’s response to crimes against women, and today it helps us bring justice to victims and hold offenders accountable.”

Read more: GOP lawmakers oppose reauthorization of Violence Against Women Act

The Senate version will  be sent to the House for consideration, but Republican lawmakers will likely introduce amendments to cut funding for underserved populations, such as LGBT, Native American, and immigrant victims of domestic and sexual violence.

31 Republican Senators who voted against VAWA’s reauthorization

* Up for re-election in 2012


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