U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-9) today voted in favor of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) that extends funding over the next five years for grants that are used to assist victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking. The bill passed 222-205.
The House bill would streamline and consolidate some grants for maximum benefit; increase resources for sexual assault investigations, prosecutions and victim services; protect victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking; promote educational awareness to prevent violence and improve services for young victims; and improve transitional housing services for victims among other things.
"As a husband and a father of two daughters, I believe that we must do everything in our power to provide victims, law enforcement officers, and prosecutors with the tools and resources they need to combat and bring to justice those who prey upon women," Luetkemeyer said. "That's why I was proud to vote for this critical measure."
Congress passed VAWA in 1994 in order to improve services and provisions for victims of domestic violence including intimate partner violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. It ensures that resources go directly to organizations and programs that help prevent and protect against these types of violence and abuse primarily through grant programs to state, tribal and local governments, nonprofit organizations and universities.
In 2000 and 2005, Congress reauthorized VAWA with enhancements to federal domestic violence and stalking penalties, additional protections for battered and trafficked immigrants, new programs for elderly and disabled women, enhanced penalties for repeat stalking offenders and programs designed to improve the public health response to domestic violence. This latest reauthorization would continue to enhance these programs and provide the necessary resources and support to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.