After two years of back-and-forth, the comprehensive Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) has finally become a reality. The inclusive version of the bill was signed into law yesterday by President Obama, marking a major victory for women and families across the country.
VAWA has already made a critical impact on the fight to end violence against women, and the comprehensive version of the bill will go even further to ensure it meets the needs of ALL victims. Since the bill’s initial passage, reporting of domestic violence has increased by as much as 51 percent, states have strengthened rape laws, and all states have made stalking a crime.
The new law reflects what we all know to be true: no case of violence is acceptable – and no individual should be discriminated against in accessing services. Rather than stigmatize particular populations and impose barriers on the Native American women, immigrant women, and members of the LGBT community who may need help, the comprehensive version of VAWA ensures these women will get the counseling, shelter, and other services they need to escape abusive relationships and lead healthy lives. The signing of VAWA is one more step to help stop attacks on women’s health.