U.S. Senator Kay Hagan commended the passage of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA) in the House of Representatives today. The life-saving bill protects victims of domestic violence and sexual assault was first passed in 1994 but has failed to be reauthorized in the House for the past two years.
The bill passed the House by a vote of 286-138.
"VAWA serves as a lifeline for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in North Carolina and across the country," said Hagan. "This reauthorization updates and improves VAWA to better protect women and children, and I'm pleased that it includes my provision to help health care providers treat and respond to violence and abuse. Victims cannot wait another day for this reauthorization, and thankfully the House finally passed the bill today on a bipartisan basis."
Earlier this year, Hagan spoke about VAWA on the Senate floor. To see that speech, please click here.
The bill includes Hagan's Violence Against Women Health Initiative that raises awareness of domestic violence and sexual assault among health care providers, allowing them to better identify, assess, and treat victims. This year's bill also includes the bipartisan SAFER Act, which provides for audits of untested rape kits and gives law enforcement resources to help reduce the backlog of rape kits - something Hagan fought for in North Carolina when she served in the state Senate.
Since its inception, VAWA has transformed our criminal justice system and victim support services, helping to prevent and respond to intimate partner violence. The reauthorization bill significantly strengthens the ability of the federal government, states, law enforcement and service providers to combat domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking and incorporates new provisions, such as Hagan's bill, to make VAWA work better for all victims.
The bill will now be sent to President Obama for signature.