Today, Joe Donnelly announced that he will vote against the House version of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization because of omissions in protections for victims, instead expressing his support for the bipartisan Senate version of the bill.
"Protecting survivors of violent acts should be a straightforward, bipartisan effort," said Donnelly. "The Violence Against Women Act has a long history of protecting survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. I think it is unacceptable that the House version of this bill would protect some women and not others. I support the bipartisan Senate bill because it would protect all women. We must not involve politics when it comes to protecting women and the family and friends who love them."
Former Indiana Lt. Governor Kathy Davis said, "There is no reason the Violence Against Women Act should weaken or exclude protections for certain victims of abuse, such as immigrants, Native Americans, and the LGBT community. In some cases, we become entangled within our own laws when we should simply be protecting basic rights. Protection against violence is one of the most fundamental rights, and it must be upheld for all women."
Specifically, the House version of the VAWA lacks sufficient protections for immigrant, LGBT, and Native American victims. These communities are protected in the Senate version of the bill. The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on its version of the bill later this afternoon. The Senate passed their version of the VAWA, 68-31, in late April of this year.