Obama signs renewal of Violence Against Women Act


US President Barack Obama along with lawmakers, law enforcement officials, tribal leaders, advocates and members of Congress, signs the Violence Against Women Act into law at the Department of the Interior March 7, 2013 in Washington, DC. The law expands protections for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and trafficking.


Alex Wong

President Obama signed a renewal of the Violence Against Women Act on Thursday.

The renewal included an expansion of protections to gay couples, immigrants, and Native American women.

The act makes it easier to prosecute violence against women in federal courts and provides funding for hotlines and shelters for abused women, reported USA Today.

It also funds research looking at sexual violence.

"All women deserve the right to live free from fear," Obama said before signing the bill, said NBC News.

"That’s what today is about."

During the signing of the renewal, President Obama was flanked by Vice President Biden, the original author of the bill, as well as lawmakers, rights activists and tribal leaders.

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The bill passed in the Senate in February with a strong majority.

The renewal of the act was tied up in the US house for a year over disagreements about protections for gays and lesbians among Republicans.

The House approved the act last month in a 286 to 138 vote.

The Associated Press said that the bill has helped reduce cases of violence against women by two-thirds since 1994.