Violence Against Women Act: US Senate approves, expands measure


A college student holds a sign readingn ' Stop All The Violence as she participates in the College Bride's Walk from Barry University on February 8, 2013 in Miami Shores, Florida. The students from area colleges walked six miles to raise awareness to the issue of domestic violence.


Joe Raedle

The US Senate on Tuesday voted 78 to 22 in favor of reauthorizing an expanded version of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), but the measure may face opposition in the House of Representatives, according to ABC News.

This is the third time Congress will attempt to pass the bill, said the Washington Post -- third time's the charm? Advocates hope so. 

This latest version of the landmark 1994 domestic violence act, which expired in 2011, includes new protections for gays and lesbians as well as legal provisions on tribal reservations, said the Washington Post

According to ABC, domestic violence is considerably higher on Native American Indian reservations and lands, with Native American Indian women more than twice as likely to be raped than white women.

Over a million American women are physically assaulted every year, according to the National Institute of Justice, and victims of domestic violence reportedly account for 15% of the US population, said the National Domestic Violence Hotline, citing a 2006 study. 

Also on Tuesday, the Democrat-controlled Senate overwhelmingly supported a VAWA amendment providing funding to the also-expired Trafficking Victims Protection Act in a vote of 95 to three, according to the Hill

Rights groups welcomed the move, with The Alliance to End Slavery & Trafficking saying the lack of resources had put "critical anti-trafficking initiatives at risk." 

Human trafficking represents a $32 billion global industry victimizing tens of thousands in the US.