Update on Violence Against Women Act

May 11, 2012

On April 26, 2012 the U.S. Senate reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) including the provision of expanded protections for Native Americans, undocumented immigrants, and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community. However, it soon became clear that the Republican lead House of Representatives would not vote for the Senate version of the Act so long as it included the expanded protections. As written in a Forbes Magazine article, The bill has had an enormous impact for good on millions of women across the nation, and yet Republicans are in opposition to its reauthorization, largely driven by their disagreement with additional provisions that would accommodate same-sex couples and undocumented immigrants.

“Today, the national hotline for domestic violence receives more than 23,000 calls every month. “Imagine the courage it takes to call that number,” said Vice President Biden. “This bill is as relevant today as it was the day it passed.”


In its role as an advocate for social justice issues, the National Association of Social Workers has sent letters to all members of the House of Representatives asking them to reauthorize VAWA in the current form as passed by the Senate, which would include expanded protections to Native Americans, undocumented Immigrants, and the LGBT community.

As it stands now, Rep. Sandy Adams (R-FL) introduced a House version of VAWA (HR4970) with 35 Republican co-sponsors. However, HR 4970 strips out the protections for Native Americans, undocumented immigrants and the LGBT community. On May 8, 2012, the House Judiciary Committee approved HR 4970 on a party-line 17-15 vote. It is expected that HR 4970 will be on the House floor for a vote on or about May 14, 2012.

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