U.S. House Passes NAACP-Supported Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Reauthorization
AFTER A YEAR OF ADVOCACY, BILL FINALLY GOES TO THE PRESIDENT FOR HIS SIGNATURE
On Thursday, February 28, 2013, the U.S. House passed the same version of S. 47, a bipartisan bill to update and improve the NAACP-supported Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which the Senate passed on February 12, 2013. S. 47 seeks to improve criminal justice and community-based responses to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking in the United States, and now that the House and the Senate have passed identical versions of the same legislation, it goes to President Obama for his signature to become law. The recent House action caps a year of frustration for VAWA advocates; last year, the U.S. House passed a much weaker version of VAWA than the Senate which did not include protections for Native Americans, homosexuals, undocumented immigrants, did not offer the same protections to students as the Senate bill, and did not address stalking. Sadly, the House and Senate were not able to come up with a final version of the legislation and thus both bills died at the end of the 112th Congress.
Since it was first enacted, with strong NAACP support, in 1994, VAWA has helped thousands of survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault across our country, and has helped to reduce annual rates of domestic violence. Sadly, there is still work to be done: 3 women a day are still killed as a result of domestic violence and 1 in 5 have been raped. These continued protections are especially important for women of color, who experience the highest reported rates of domestic violence and sexual assault. In a recent study, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 37% of Hispanic women are victims; 43% of African-American women and 38% of African-American men are victims; and a staggering 46% of American Indian or Alaska Native women and 45% of American Indian or Alaska Native men experience intimate-partner victimization.
S. 47, as passed now by both the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate, is almost identical to the bill which passed the U.S. Senate in 2012. The bill will not only continue proven effective programs, but that it will make key changes to streamline VAWA and make sure that even more people have access to safety, stability and justice.
THE NAACP APPLAUDS THE U.S. SENATE AND THE U.S. HOUSE FOR PASSING A COMPREHENSIVE, INCLUSIVE REAUTHORIZATION OF VAWA AND IS PLEASED THAT THE PRESIDENT HAS INDICATED THAT HE WILL SIGN THE BILL.