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Violence Against Women Act Passes House and Senate

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Violence Against Women Act Passes House and Senate
Issue 29, Fall 2005

Violence Against Women Act Passes House and Senate

by Rebecca Shiemke, MPLP Family Law Attorney

The United States Senate passed S. 1197, the bill to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) of 1994 through fiscal year 2010, by unanimous consent on October 4, 2005. The House passed H.R. 3402, its version of VAWA reauthorization, on September 28, by a 415 to 4 vote.

The Violence Against Women Act of 2000, which reauthorized VAWA of 1994, expired on September 30, 2005. Reauthorization of VAWA is now contingent upon the conference committee reconciliation of the Senate and House versions of the bills.

The American Bar Association is supporting VAWA reauthorization to ensure that funding for these vital programs is not reduced or eliminated. The ABA notes that VAWA programs deserve strong congressional support because:

  • VAWA has created programs that have made a difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of women and their children. These programs have bolstered the prosecution of child abuse, sexual assault and domestic violence cases, increased services for victims by funding shelters and sexual assault crisis centers, increased resources for law enforcement and prosecutors, and created a National Domestic Violence Hotline.
  • Reauthorizing legislation will continue ABA-supported VAWA programs for five more years at levels requested by states, communities, law enforcement officials, and service providers. Programs requiring reauthorization include STOP grants, Grants to Encourage Arrest Policies, and funding for battered women's shelters and rape prevention programs.
  • VAWA reauthorizing legislation will provide ABA-supported funding for Civil Legal Assistance , authorizing grants to provide legal assistance, lay advocacy and referral services to victims of domestic violence who have inadequate access to sufficient financial resources for appropriate legal assistance, especially for such matters as divorce, custody, visitation and protection orders.


Michigan has been very supportive of VAWA reauthorization. Both Carl Levin and Debbie Stebanow are co-sponsors of the Senate version of the bill and John Conyers, Jr. has co-sponsored the House bill. If you wish to send a letter in your individual capacity to a member of Congress asking for support for VAWA, view a sample letter at:


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