After a failed vote on a Republican-supported version of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) that took out many of the bill’s expanded protections, the Republican-controlled House passed the Senate version of VAWA that adds additional coverage for immigrant, LGBT, and Native American victims. The Senate passed the bill earlier in February, so now it heads to President Obama for his signature. Congress failed to reauthorize the law in 2012, making it the first time since VAWA went into effect in 1994 that the measure to protect domestic violence victims had been allowed to expire.
The new VAWA measure expands coverage for undocumented immigrant victims by adding “stalking” to the list of crimes covered by U visas, which are available to immigrant domestic violence victims who assist or are willing to help in the investigation or prosecution of a criminal offense. The bill also increases resources to combat human trafficking.