Today, Congressman David Scott voted for passage of S. 47, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013. The bill passed the House by a large, bi-partisan margin of 286-138, and will renew and expand the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which had expired in September 2011.
"Today, the House voted to protect all victims of domestic violence across America," Congressman Scott said. "Full reauthorization of VAWA is needed to ensure that law enforcement receives the resources they need to address crimes such as domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking."
The updated version of VAWA addresses a number of concerns for LGBT, Native American and immigrant victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. The measure includes language to ensure the availability of services to all victims of domestic and dating violence, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity. The measure also provides authority to Native American tribes to prosecute non-Indian perpetrators for a narrow set of crimes related to domestic, dating violence and violations of protecting orders. The measure also adds stalking to the list of crimes for which victims can receive protection through the U-Visa program. Finally, S. 47 also includes authorizations for programs preventing human trafficking, sexual assault on college campuses, as well as additional resources to address rape kit backlogs.
Since the first VAWA bill passed in 1994, domestic violence has decreased by 53 percent. VAWA was reauthorized in 2000 and 2005 with bipartisan support, but for the first time, the law was not reauthorized during the previous session of Congress. The Senate passed S. 47 by a margin of 78-22 and the bill will now be sent to the President for his signature into law.