In May, we updated you on the Senate’s reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Now, there is a possibility of the bill failing if the House and Senate are unable to reconcile differences between their two bills. The House bill excludes members of the LGBT community and reduces protections for Native American women as well as immigrants. It also requires an auditing procedure, which diverts funding away from victim services.
Victims of domestic violence are at heightened risk with each passing day of this impasse. VAWA has decreased instances of domestic violence by 53 percent since its passage, and reports of violence have increased by similar rates. Furthermore, the White House has threatened to veto the more limited House version of VAWA, should that be the one that emerges from Congress. Protections for Native American women are especially crucial since they face more than three times the rate of domestic violence as any other group in America. For all of these reasons, it is imperative that the House of Representatives agree to language that is similar if not identical to the Senate’s more expansive version.