Following U.S. Senate passage of the bipartisan Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization, U.S. Rep. Gary Peters once again called on House Republicans to stop putting partisanship before the safety of women by immediately bringing it to a vote in the House. For nearly two decades, the Violence Against Women Act has enjoyed broad bipartisan support until the 112th Congress when the Republican Majority allowed it to expire by denying a reauthorization vote.
"Now that the Senate has once again passed the Violence Against Women Act, House Republicans are out of excuses for their continued delay," said U.S. Congressman Gary Peters. "Until House Republicans allowed the Violence Against Women Act to expire two months ago, I had always believed that protecting women from their abusers and funding domestic abuse shelters rose above the partisan bickering of Washington. Enough is enough, Republicans must stop denying a vote to the millions of American women that have suffered from abuse."
The Senate version of the Violence Against Women Act (S. 47) passed by a vote of 78 to 22 with the support of all 20 female senators.
VAWA has improved the criminal justice system's ability to keep victims safe and hold perpetrators accountable. As a result of this historic legislation, every state has enacted laws making stalking a crime and strengthened criminal rape statutes. The annual incidence of domestic violence has dropped more than 50% since VAWA became law.
The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA Reauthorization) significantly strengthens the ability of the Federal Government, the States, law enforcement, and service providers to combat domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Key benefits include:
Renews Successful Programs - This bill reauthorizes important programs - including STOP Grants, Grants to Encourage Arrest Policies and Enforcement of Protection Orders Program, Transitional Housing Assistance Grants, legal assistance for victims, and youth prevention programs - that have helped law enforcement keep victims safe and hold perpetrators accountable.
Consolidation - VAWA Reauthorization consolidates 13 existing programs into four to reduce administrative costs and avoid duplication.
Reduced Authorization - This legislation reduces authorizations by 17 percent from the 2005 reauthorization. It reduces or keeps even the authorization for every VAWA program, eliminates or consolidates several, and adds only one small new grant program.
Accountability - VAWA Reauthorization incorporates new accountability provisions, including strict new audit requirements, enforcement mechanisms, restrictions on grantees' executive compensation and investments and their administrative costs - all aimed to ensure that VAWA funds are used wisely and efficiently.