Advocates of the Violence Against Women Act have reintroduced the bill to congress this week. Also known as "VAWA", the bill could have major impacts on how authorities respond to domestic violence against Native Americans, Undocumented Immigrants, and members of the LGBT community. However, as KUNM News Intern Christine Trudeau reports, the bill could also be killed by house republicans, again, if a compromise can't be met.
Last year the Senate passed a version of VAWA with new provisions protecting undocumented immigrants, LGBT victims, and Native Americans from domestic violence while the House passed a version excluding those protections. The two versions were never reconciled and for the first time since the Act was passed in 1994 by then President Bill Clinton, it was shelved. The same bill was reintroduced in the House this week.
Executive Director of the Domestic Violence Recourse Center in Albuquerque, Lynn Gentrywood says reauthorizing the act is essential, especially on tribal land.
Gentrywood: Currently if a Native American woman is attacked on tribal land and the offender is not a tribal member, it has to be a federal prosecution at that point.
Gentrywood is optimistic about VAWA’s chances this Congressional Session. Opponents have questioned the constitutionality of proposed previsions and have rejected undocumented and LGBT protections.