Senate best on anti-violence act
Will justice be served?
The Violence Against Women Act is due for reauthorization. Since 1994, the VAWA has combated violent crime and protected victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. In a bipartisan vote, the Senate voted to reauthorize the act and strengthen protections for victims in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, immigrant and Native American communities. However, the House has its own version of the bill. Progressive provisions that are absent in the House legislation are in the Senate version of the bill. For example, the House version fails to protect victims of violence in the LGBT community, Native American and immigrant communities. Not only does the House bill remove important protections for vulnerable communities, but it also cuts funding used to combat domestic violence.
How is a victim of violence supposed to feel safe when they are living in violent households and the alternative is homelessness? It makes things more difficult to leave when local service programs and shelters are struggling for survival due to budget cuts. As the Obama administration noted, “no sexual assault or domestic violence victim should be beaten, hurt, or killed because they could not access needed support, assistance, and protection.” Will justice be served?