House Version of VAWA Excludes Key Protections

A version of the Violence Against Women Act introduced by House Republicans excludes some protections found in the Senate bill, such as protections for LGBT, immigrant, and Native American victims of domestic violence. The House bill’s key sponsor, Rep. Sandy Adams (R-FL), defended the bill and his spokeswoman said that the protections were unnecessary because “the grants are available to all victims, and there is no evidence to conclude that victims are being turned away.” ThinkProgress disputes this claim, reporting that cases of LGBT domestic violence have increased by 38 percent this past year and that 44 percent of LGBT victims were denied access to traditional domestic violence shelters.

The Senate passed their version of VAWA, which includes the provisions, on April 26 in a 68 to 31 vote. Feminist Majority President Eleanor Smeal praised the action taken by the Senate and said, “Violence is violence and VAWA must cover all victims. The House must move promptly to pass the Senate bill without amendments and not a watered down substitute.”

Other women’s groups and domestic violence victims’ advocacy groups also criticized the bill and said that without the provisions, the bill is incomplete. President of NOW, Terry O’Neill, told Politico that “the agenda that is being promoted by the Adams bill is racist and homophobic and leaves women behind, and that’s not OK.”

Politico 5/3/12; ThinkProgress 5/3/12; Feminist Daily News Wire 4/26/12

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