Senate Passes Violence Against Women Act

By unanimous consent, the United States Senate passed the Violence Against Women Act of 2005 on October 4. “Today's action means our nation is on its way to improving its response to domestic, sexual and dating violence, and stalking,” said Family Violence Prevention Fund (FVPF) President Esta Soler. “Coupled with House passage of the Violence Against Women Act last week, this is very good news.” The House vote, on September 28, was a resounding bipartisan victory – 415 to 4.

“We are especially pleased that these bills will fund unprecedented new prevention initiatives that have the potential to keep millions of women and children safe, and establish new rape crisis centers,” Soler added. “We thank Senators Joseph Biden (D-DE), Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and Chairman James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and Representative John Conyers (D-MI) for their leadership.”

“For ten years, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) has strengthened communities and provided critical, life-saving support to victims of violence,” said Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi. “VAWA has meant that no victim of violence has to suffer in silence. This legislation has been a tremendous success in addressing an appalling problem.”

FVPF Public Policy Director Kiersten Stewart urged lawmakers to correct flaws in the bills when it goes to conference by: improving the immigration provisions; restoring the funding stream for communities of color; including key health, housing and economic security provisions; and funding the Rape, Prevention and Education program.

“Passage of this bill is a tribute to the strength and activism in the field,” Soler said. “We thank every survivor, service provider and activist who reached out to lawmakers to urge passage of this bill. But our work isn’t over. Americans need Congress to finish its work and the President to sign the Violence Against Women Act of 2005 into law.”

The Violence Against Women Act of 2000 expired on September 30.

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