Posted: Feb 14, 2013 5:00 PM by Jessica Holley - firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated: Feb 14, 2013 6:56 PM
CORPUS CHIRSTI - This week the Senate voted to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act. The original act created back in 1994 expired in 2011 and last year a divided Congress failed to renew the act.
It has been temporarily reauthorized, but that funding comes to an end at the end of September. While the bills sounds reasonably uncontroversial it's fine details in the bill that concerns the Republican majority House of Representatives.
In 2012 The Women's Shelter of South Texas served more than 2,400 victims, women and men who experienced the type of domestic violence.
"We see our numbers continuing to increase as we identify more victims that need to be served," says Adrienne Sportsman, education and prevention director at Women's Shelter of South Texas.
20 percent of the shelter's funding comes from the Violence Against Women Act, but time and money is running out if it's not reauthorized.
"We always are looking for additional funding sources but at some level it might ultimately effect the number of clients we serve," says Sportsman.
If passed a second time around the bill would give state and federal agencies assisting domestic violence victims more than $650 million over 5 years. But it comes down to details in the bil, that's creating the problem. These are the two big new topics in the bill causing all the controversy.
First, the new Senate bill recognizes tribal authority to prosecute non-American Indians who abuse their partners. Experts says American Indian women are twice as likely to be raped and often are left powerless to act against non-tribal criminals. And second would be the added protection for gays, lesbians, and immigrants.
"We are just hoping that constituents call in and contact their congressmen and let them know how important this is," says Sportsman.
Sportsman says without this federal funding, the Women's Sheletr of South Texas may have to cut staff, ultimately effecting the victims in need.
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