The Violence Against Women Act is up for re-authorization in Washington, and it has become controversial. The law, in effect since 1994, provides funding for investigation and prosecution of crimes against women by their spouses or domestic partners. U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) says a reauthorization vote in the Senate this week stands a good chance.
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“This time we have 61 co-sponsors, which in the Senate is a pretty good thing, and a rare thing – bipartisan sponsorship of this bill,” he said. It is a valuable law, says Dawn Dalton, head of the Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women’s Network, which runs the statewide domestic violence help line. “There’s funding that goes to the prosecutor’s office, to law enforcement, to service providers. It’s a community response,” she said. The law provides funding to organizations that help domestic abuse victims, typically women, escape their circumstances.
But Republicans oppose it, because it gives temporary visas to illegal immigrants who are domestically abused, and covers same-sex couples. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) says Democrats are trying to score “cheap political points” with women.