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World

US House reauthorizes Violence Against Women Act

  • Twenty-nine Republicans joined all Democrats present in supporting the measure.
Updated 18 Mar 2021

WASHINGTON: The US House voted Wednesday to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, which enshrines critical legal protections for victims of domestic and sexual violence but had lapsed during the previous Congress.

The original bill was first passed in 1994 and was championed by President Joe Biden, who was a US senator at the time. It has been updated in 2000, 2005 and 2013.

The measure -- which would provide grants to groups addressing domestic violence, sexual assault and prevention, fund rape crisis centers and facilitate outreach in underserved communities -- passed on a bipartisan 244-172 vote.

It also funds a first-time program to fight domestic violence against LGBTQ individuals through the use of prevention education and training, and improves housing access for victims and survivors.

Twenty-nine Republicans joined all Democrats present in supporting the measure.

"If ever there is a fighting spirit, it is now -- to save the lives of thousands and thousands of women," said congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, one of the bill's chief sponsors, before the vote.

With the bill's passage, "we will say, no more," she added.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hailed the measure as a way to "uphold the right of every woman everywhere to live free from abuse."