After getting Senate approval two weeks ago, the extension of the Violence Against Women Act has passed the U.S. House of Representatives.
The 286-138 vote renews the 1994 law that helped put the standard in place for how to protect both women and men from domestic abuse and to prosecute those who abuse them.
The law, which has been extended twice before with little opposition, lapsed in 2011 in the midst of partisan battles that are still dividing Congress. Just last year, the House denied a Senate-approved bill that would have clarified access to the bill's protections to lesbians, gays, immigrants, and Native American women.
The Senate bill would give about $659 million a year over five years to current programs providing grants for transitional housing, legal help, law enforcement training, and hotlines. It also added stalking to the crimes that make immigrants eligible for protection while authorizing programs that deal with sexual assault on university and college campuses. The law also reauthorizes the Trafficking Victims Protection Act and includes efforts to reduce rape kit analysis backlogs.
The Violence Against Women Act is said to have helped reduce incidents of domestic violence by two-thirds since its inception.
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