Senate passes APA-supported Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization

On Feb. 12, the United States Senate passed the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (S. 47) with strong bipartisan support, by a vote of 78-22. APA’s advocacy activities around the Senate bill included a letter of support (PDF, 94KB) sent to Senators Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, and a Public Policy Advocacy Network action alert to mobilize grassroots support. The legislation included key language sought by APA to provide greater protections for Native women, immigrants and LGBT individuals, and to improve the health care system’s response to intimate partner violence by:

  • Integrating treatment and referral for domestic and sexual violence into family planning, adolescent health and home visitation programs;
  • Supporting partners — including health professional schools, allied health training programs, and national health and trauma-related associations — to develop, implement, evaluate and disseminate education and training curricula to respond to lifetime exposure to violence and abuse; and
  • Providing for research to evaluate effective interventions within the health care setting to prevent violence and abuse across the life span; to address and prevent the physical and mental health effects of such violence; and to improve the safety and physical and mental health of individuals that are currently being victimized.

Attention now turns to the House of Representatives, which, in the last session of Congress, passed a reauthorization bill that did not include comprehensive protections for priority populations. APA recently sent a letter of support (PDF, 94KB) to Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Wis., sponsor of VAWA reauthorization legislation in the House that includes both the aforementioned public health and priority population provisions. These efforts build on PI-GRO’s strong advocacy throughout 2012 for a comprehensive reauthorization of VAWA.