Bipartisan efforts to ensure the safety of all domestic violence victims should continue following the vote in Congress on February 28, 2013, to renew the Violence against Women Act (VAWA), Human Rights Watch said today. The bill includes provisions aimed at improving access to justice and services for victims from a range of backgrounds, and continuing efforts should include advancing protections for immigrant victims of violence during the process of comprehensive immigration reform, Human Rights Watch said.
The bill passed by the House of Representatives addresses gaps in access to justice for victims of violence on Native American reservations. It includes protections against discrimination for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) victims, and modestly expands protections for immigrant victims. Efforts to renew VAWA in the last Congress stalled over differences between the House and the Senate on these issues.
“Congress came together today and put partisan politics aside to protect victims of violence,” said Meghan Rhoad, women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch. “With continued cooperation, Congress can make further strides to ensure that everyone has access to justice, to services, and to safety.”