Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., on Thursday urged Republicans to act quickly, saying that every minute Congress delays another 24 Americans become victims of domestic violence.
Under the existing law, the federal government provides grants to states and local governments for services such as transitional housing, legal assistance and law enforcement training. This has helped increase rates of prosecution and conviction of offenders by helping communities develop dedicated law enforcement units for domestic violence. VAWA's National Domestic Violence Hotline receives more than 22,000 calls a month. The law also established the Office on Violence Against Women within the Justice Department.
The Senate bill would authorize $659 million over five years for the programs, down 17 percent from the last reauthorization in 2005. The bill also gives more emphasis to sexual assault prevention and takes steps to reduce the rape kit backlog.
It removes a provision that Republicans objected to last year that would have increased visas for immigrant victims of domestic violence.
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