The Feminist Majority applauds the Senate’s vote today to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The VAWA reauthorization bill passed by the Senate on a 68 to 31 vote today is the first to include access to law enforcement and services for Native American women, better access for immigrant women who fear deportation if they report violence, and better access for LGBT victims.

Feminist Majority President Eleanor Smeal, praising the action taken by the Senate today, 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.”

In the almost 18 years since VAWA was initially passed, millions have benefited from its provisions. Between 1993 and 2010, the rate of intimate partner violence declined by 67%. States are taking violence against women more seriously and all states now have stalking laws, criminal sanctions for violation of civil protection orders, and reforms that make date or spousal rape as serious of a crime as stranger rape. Moreover, VAWA established the National Domestic Violence Hotline, which receives over 22,000 calls each month and VAWA funds train over 500,000 law enforcement officers, prosecutors, judges, and other personnel each year.

The Feminist Majority strongly urges the House to pass the Senate bill to extend critical lifesaving programs and services for another five years. Eliminating violence against women is not and must not be a partisan issue.