The twice-reauthorized Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA), a seminal piece of federal legislation that dramatically improved the U.S. national response to domestic violence and sexual assault, expired in 2011. VAWA saves lives, deters violent crime and brings perpetrators to justice by funding assistance to state and local law enforcement and victim service organizations and creating a pathway to lawful immigration for undocumented survivors. These lifesaving laws and programs hang in the balance as members of Congress continue to quibble over several hotly contested proposed revisions to the Act. The Senate-passed Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2012, introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), would expand the number of nonimmigrant visas available to undocumented immigrant crime victims, increase the authority of Native American tribes to prosecute non-Indians who rape or batter somebody on a reservation, and prohibit discrimination against LGBT victims. READ ON to find out why House Republicans are balking over the Senate-proposed provisions, and why VAWA 2012 presents a perfect opportunity for Democrats and Republicans to broker a post-Election détente.
Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization: Congress Must Display Bipartisanship, Julia Alanen, PolicyMic (November 16, 2012).