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U.S. Senate passes LGBT-inclusive Violence Against Women Act reauthorization bill

April 26, 2012

The Task Force applauds the U.S. Senate’s passage by a vote of 68-31 today of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization bill, which for the first time includes explicit protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) survivors of domestic violence.

The 1994 federal law provides funds to enhance investigation and prosecution of violent crimes such as domestic violence and sexual assault, and it bolsters victim services programs. The Task Force Action Fund, along with a broad coalition of organizations including the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, has been lobbying for inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity in the law.

Statement by Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey:

To be the target of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence or stalking is terrifying and traumatic. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are not immune from this violence, and their distress should not be further heightened by a lack of proper response from service providers or law enforcement. Imagine being assaulted, scared and in pain — and then being turned away from receiving basic services and care. No one should ever be subjected to such inhumane treatment.

Reauthorization of this inclusive Violence Against Women Act will go a long way toward ensuring everyone has access to life-sustaining resources. Lives are literally on the line, and we thank the Senate for passing this critical legislation. We urge the House to swiftly follow suit.

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