House Approves Violence Against Women Act: SAVE Applauds Long-Overdue Reform Measures
WASHINGTON / May 17, 2012 – The House of Representatives has passed the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act by a 222-205 margin. Responding to public discontent, H.R. 4970 contains a number of measures designed to curb widespread waste and fraud in the domestic violence field.
A recent U.S. News poll found a strong majority of persons are opposed to the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in its current form: http://www.usnews.com/debate-club/should-the-violence-against-women-act-be-reauthorized Many women have questioned the effectiveness and fairness of the existing VAWA law: http://womenagainstvawa.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Flyer-VAWA-Pro-Woman.pdf
Reforms contained H.R. 4970 include strong accountability measures, gender-inclusive language, and provisions to stem fraudulent claims of abuse by immigrants. The current VAWA law has invited immigration fraud by not allowing the US citizen accused of abuse to submit evidence that could refute the accusation.
The White House played an active role in opposing the bill. The Obama Administration issued a Statement of Administration Policy on Tuesday stating it would veto any bill that was modeled on H.R. 4970.
During Wednesday’s floor debate, sponsor Sandy Adams (R-FL) withstood numerous challenges. When informed by John Conyers (D-MI) that numerous organizations opposed her bill, she retorted, “Shame on them!”
Following passage of the bill, a number of established domestic violence organizations have reacted with anger and implied threats. The National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women called the bill “dangerous.” The National Organization for Women charged that Representatives who voted for the bill “will be judged in the public arena and at the polls in November.”
According to SAVE spokesman Philip W. Cook, “H.R. 4970 certainly is not a perfect bill. Still, passage of the House measure is a victory for victims who have been refused service in the past. It removes most sex discriminatory language. It is also a victory for taxpayers who are tired of the ongoing reports of waste and fraud.”
SAVE thanks the many organizations and individuals who have supported VAWA reform efforts. SAVE will continue to work for ways to reform and strengthen the Violence Against Women Act: www.saveservices.org/pvra .
Stop Abusive and Violent Environments is a victim-advocacy organization working for evidence-based solutions to partner abuse: www.saveservices.org