Congressman Jim Gerlach (PA-6th District) voted in favor of legislation on Thursday providing resources to law enforcement, hospitals and other organizations that seek justice for and provide aid to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
Gerlach backed S. 47, the proposed Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act. The bill passed the House by a 286-138 margin and now goes to the President for his signature.
"My vote today was about making sure the courageous women who break free from abusive relationships or contact law enforcement after acts of unspeakable violence have the support they deserve," Gerlach said after the vote. "I have supported the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act twice in previous sessions of Congress, and I am pleased that we reached a bipartisan consensus that will allow communities across the country to combat domestic violence and sexual assault. I am confident that these resources will be used to save and help rebuild countless lives."
The legislation specifically would fund grant programs administered by the Department of Justice and Department of Health and Human Services. These grants fund violence prevention programs as well as services to assist victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
Among the goals of the legislation would be reducing the backlog of untested evidence used in rape investigations, cracking down on human trafficking and requiring colleges and universities to provide information about prevention programs victims' services.