U.S. House passes harmful version of VAWA
May 16, 2012 - Today the U.S. House of Representatives voted 222 to 205 to pass HR 4970, the House version of the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence would like to applaud Representative Charles Bass for voting against this dangerous bill. The House's version differs from the bipartisan version of VAWA recently passed in the Senate, which was co-sponsored by Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte. HR 4970 includes dangerous provisions for many victims, omits crucial protections for others, and generally weakens the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in New Hampshire.
“While it is disappointing that the House chose to pass HR 4970, it is encouraging to see that Congressman Bass took a strong stand against this bill,” said Kim France, Coalition Executive Director. “Violence Against Women is not a partisan issue; it does not discriminate between Republicans or Democrats. Anyone can be a victim. We expect our delegation to put the needs of victims above all else. “
The many problematic provisions in the House version include:
- Failing to provide additional protections for native American women;
- Failing to include language that would prohibit discrimination against LGBT victims in VAWA grant programs;
- Undermining the potential of lifesaving housing protections in VAWA;
- Removing current critical protections for immigrant victims of domestic violence by allowing abusers to be notified when a victim files a VAWA self petition for relief;
- Limiting the U visa program, barring the use of unused visas, and endangering victims who work with law enforcement to bring perpetrators to justice.
VAWA is critical to the network of agencies working to end violence and abuse in New Hampshire. A total of $467,000 in VAWA Funds are administered through the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, with $158,000 of that money funding direct services to sexual assault victims provided by our crisis centers. The remaining balance funds programs and services such as the sexual assault nurse examiner program (SANE), as well as coordination of our child advocacy collaboration with the department of Health and Human Services. Additional VAWA grants are given to some prosecutor’s offices, police departments, visitation centers, legal advocacy groups, and the court system throughout New Hampshire.