Senate Passes S. 47, the VAWA Reauthorization Bill


ACT NOW!  Thank the Champions in the Senate who Passed a VAWA that Protects Native Women and ALL Women Against Violence!  Tell the House to Quickly Do the Same!

February 12 |  Washington, D.C. -- After several days of heated debate, the Senate has passed S. 47, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, by a bipartisan vote of 78-22. The bill would reauthorize VAWA for five years.

Champions of Native women in the Senate successfully repelled several harmful amendments and substitute bills that would have stripped out the strengthened protections for Native women.

S. 47 was passed with provisions intact that would restore limited concurrent criminal jurisdiction to tribes to prosecute non-Indians who choose to commit crimes of domestic violence or dating violence against tribal citizens on tribal lands.  Native women experience rates of violence 2 ½ times that of any other population and many live on reservations where the murder rate is 10 times the national average.  It is estimated that 34% of American Indian and Alaska Native women will be raped, and 39% will be victims of domestic violence, in their lifetimes.  Some 67% of Native women who are raped and sexually assaulted report their assailants as non-Native.  

S. 47 was passed with some floor amendments, most notably Amendment #21, introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), to enhance measures to combat trafficking in persons and to authorize appropriations for fiscal years  through 2017 for the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, and Amendment #10, introduced by Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), to clarify that child victims of sex trafficking are eligible to receive assistance under grants provided to enhance the safety of youth and children.  Amendment #11, introduced by Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), was agreed to by voice vote.

President Barack Obama has already issued his support for S. 47 and is calling on the House to follow suit.  H.R. 11, an identical bill to S. 47, has been introduced in the House and now has 181 cosponsors. 

For more information, visit www.indianlaw.orgor