Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Emmanuel Huybrechts
The original Violence Against Women Act was set to expire on Sept. 30. However, Congress recently noted that the life of the law would be extended through Dec. 7.
By Michael V. Cusenza
A large group of Empire State lawyers has been calling on federal lawmakers to support the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2018, which extends and expands the current measure addressing domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.
The 4,300 member-strong Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York recently touted the “vital improvements” in the VAWA Reauthorization, including resources for prevention, support for victims who need assistance rebuilding financially, increased help for underserved communities, improved healthcare responses, and enhanced protections for Alaskan Indian and Native American survivors.
The association on Friday characterized the bill as “a critical tool in the fight against domestic violence and ensuring the safety of all families.”
First passed in 1994, the Violence Against Women Act was set to expire on Sunday. Citing the midterm elections, Congress was able to extend the life of the law through Dec. 7 via a stopgap spending bill. However, organizations such as WBASNY are urging the House and Senate to approve the long-term coverage provided by the 2018 VAWA Reauthorization Act.
According to WBASNY, the reauthorization also contains housing provisions that “are particularly important for improving the safety of survivors fleeing abuse.” It would ensure that victims cannot be evicted or denied housing based on the criminal activity of their abusers; would prohibit housing discrimination against victims of domestic violence, enabling victims to maintain safe housing through emergency transfers and vouchers; and would guarantee survivors the right to seek help from law enforcement or emergency assistance without retaliation.