On March 7th, President Obama signed into law the re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act! YWCA’s around the country have been working tirelessly to ensure the passage of this critical act.
Originally passed in 1994 and reauthorized since, VAWA provides federal funding and support to protect and serve survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. The 2013 bill will authorize up to $660 million each year for the next five years for programs to help prosecute sexual assault and domestic abuse cases and assist the DV/SV crime survivors.
The newly passed legislation is more expansive than the original, and expands coverage for ALL victims. Most notably, the bill goes further by offering protections for gay, bisexual or transgender victims of domestic abuse, undocumented immigrant women, as well as allowing American Indian women who are assaulted on reservations by non-Indians to take their case to tribal courts, which otherwise would not have jurisdiction over assailants who do not live on tribal land.
“Over more than two decades, this law has saved countless lives and transformed the way we treat victims of abuse,” President Obama said in a statement. “Today’s vote will go even further by continuing to reduce domestic violence, improving how we treat victims of rape, and extending protections to Native American women and members of the L.G.B.T. community.”
“Renewing this bill is an important step towards making sure no one in America is forced to live in fear, and I look forward to signing it into law as soon as it hits my desk,” he concluded.