Violence Against Women Act of 2005 Passes in the House and the Senate
Sunday, January 1, 2006 1:15 PM

Before adjourning for the holidays, both houses of Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act of 2005 (VAWA). The first version of VAWA passed in 1994. It was reauthorized in 2000 and expired September 30, 2005. Advocates around the country have been advocating for the passage of this new bill all year. "VAWA 2005 is landmark legislation that funds initiatives to help children exposed to violence, train health care providers to support victims of abuse, work with men as allies to help teach the next generation that violence is wrong, and provide crisis services for victims of rape and sexual assault" (cited in: Congress Completes Work on Violence Against Women Act, Family Violence Prevention Fund, 19 December 2005). The bill also promises funding to train public officials to respond to the problem and to improve law enforcement efforts. It calls for continued strengthening of support services, including the provision of transitional housing.

Two controversial amendments were proposed prior to the bill's passage. The "Kyl Amendment," which allows federal agencies to collect DNA samples for the national database, passed and is a part of the final bill. The "King Amendment," however, was rejected. It would have affected immigrant women by prohibiting batterers from serving as a sponsor for visa applicants.

The passage of VAWA is seen as critical to protecting the victims and combating domestic violence and sexual assault.

Compiled from: Congress Completes Work on Violence Against Women Act, Family Violence Prevention Fund, 19 December 2005.
VAWA 2005 Reauthorization, national IMMIGRATION project, 17 December 2005.