Dayton YWCA hopes Violence Against Women Act gets re-authorized

The spending bill President Trump signed Friday got a lot of attention, but many advocates were paying attention to another law.

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which provides protections for victims of domestic violence, was allowed to lapse during the partial government shutdown.

Advocates have been watching for the re-authorization of VAWA, which also provides funding for services across the country, since last September.

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One Dayton group hopes the act comes back with stronger protection for victims.

Audrey Starr, Director of Communications of the Dayton Chapter of the YWCA, said the VAWA first passed almost 25 years ago and helps fund a number of services they provide to victims.

"Violence against woman and preventing that and responding to that is really a bipartisan issue," Starr told News Center 7's James Buechele. "It impacts every function and portion of our services from sexual assault to domestic violence from our emergency shelter to our crisis hotline to our case management services."

Republics and Democrats put together a spending bill for President Trump to sign, but both parties couldn’t agree on how to continue VAWA.

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“As lawmakers were discussing the spending bill that was signed this week, one of the things they were discussing was do we include and re-authorize VAWA in its previous iterations so no changes, just put back in VAWA as it currently stands or do we expand it,” Starr said.

Starr said the re-authorization of VAWA wasn’t added on to the bill, but advocates believe there is a chance to expand protections in a formal authorization in the House and Senate by adding Native Americans and those in the LGBTQ community that weren’t added in before.

“It allows for the conversations that advocates need to have around those expansions and around saying where are those gaps that survivors may not be receiving as many protections as they could,” she said.

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