The U.S. Senate is likely to reauthorize a version of the Violence Against Women Act which provides resources for victims of domestic violence, including LGBT people.
The bill was originally introduced two weeks ago and pushed forward for a full vote Monday. Here’s what it includes:
This version of the law would include sexual orientation and gender identity after vigilant lobbying from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs. Currently 96% of law enforcement agencies have no specific services for LGBT people when dealing with domestic violence. LGBT survivors of violence do face discrimination: 45% are turned away from shelters, and 55% are denied orders of protection. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, lesbians and bisexual men and women largely report higher numbers of rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner than heterosexual men and women. Gay men’s rates (26%) are slightly lower than heterosexual men’s (29%).
Very good to see our legislators acknowledge that domestic violence is not limited to opposite-sex couples. Everyone deserves equal protection—no exceptions.