On Jan. 22, 2013, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Senator Michael Crapo (R-ID) introduced S. 47, a strong, bipartisan bill that would reauthorize the landmark Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)! This bill closely mirrors the bipartisan legislation introduced by Senators Leahy and Crapo last Congress and would improve VAWA programs and strengthen protections for all victims of violence.
So far, the bill has the following co-sponsors in addition to its chief sponsor, Senator Leahy (D-VT): Senators Ayotte (R-NH), Bennet (D-CO), Cantwell (D-WA), Casey (D-PA), Collins (R-ME), Coons (D-DE), Crapo (R-ID), Durbin (D-IL), Hagan (D-NC), Kirk (R-IL), Klobuchar (D-MN), McCaskill (D-MO), Mikulski (D-MD), Murkowski (R-AK), Murray (D-WA), Shaheen (D-NH), Tester (D-MT), Udall (D-CO), and Whitehouse (D-RI).
Also on Jan. 20, 2013, Representatives Gwen Moore (D-WI) and John Conyers (D-MI) introduced H.R. 11, a House companion identical to the bipartisan Senate bill. Contact Representative Lee Terry and urge him to co-sponsor. H.R. 11.
VAWA creates and supports comprehensive, effective, and cost saving responses to the crimes of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. VAWA programs, administered by the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services, have dramatically changed federal, tribal, state, and local responses to these crimes.
Initially passed in 1994, VAWA created the first U.S. federal legislation acknowledging domestic violence and sexual assault as crimes, and provided federal resources to encourage community-coordinated responses to combating violence. Its reauthorization in 2000 improved the foundation established by VAWA 1994 by creating a much-needed legal assistance program for victims and by expanding the definition of crime to include dating violence and stalking. Its subsequent reauthorization in 2005 created new programs to meet the emerging needs of communities working to prevent violence.
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