Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013

Photo: Unarmed Civilian

Photo: Unarmed Civilian

The White House: 

STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY

S. 47 – Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013

(Sen. Leahy, D-VT, and 61 cosponsors)

The Administration is pleased that the House of Representatives has committed to reauthorizing the landmark Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), but the Administration cannot support the House substitute to S. 47 as currently drafted.

The Administration supports the measures in the House bill to reduce domestic violence homicides and to provide resources to States to address rape and sexual assault and recognizes that the bill does not include some of the harmful rollbacks in victim protection that were contained in the version passed by the House in the 112th Congress.  However, the bill fails to include critical improvements passed by a large bipartisan margin in the Senate that would continue the progress the Nation has made in combating violence against women.

The bill omits crucial provisions that would address the high rates of violence experienced by young women on college campuses.  For example, the Senate bill requires colleges and universities to provide information to students about dating violence and sexual assault and to develop policies that improve reporting, investigation, and services for victims of these crimes.  Every parent who has sent a child off to college knows the importance of these commonsense measures to keep young people safe.

The House bill also would inhibit the successful prosecution by tribal authorities of non-Indian perpetrators of domestic violence.  The proposal as currently drafted would continue to allow for disparate treatment of Indian and non-Indian offenders and fails to adequately address serious criminal violations of domestic violence in Tribal communities.  The Administration urges the House to adopt the Senate language recognizing Tribal criminal jurisdiction in domestic violence cases.

The Administration is disappointed that the House bill does not require covered housing programs to implement emergency transfer plans for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault and does not explicitly protect LGBT victims of crime from discrimination when they seek services or protections funded by VAWA.  Unfortunately, the House measure also does not reauthorize the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, which provides critical protections and services for victims of modern day slavery.

The Administration urges the House to fulfill its commitment to reauthorize VAWA by scheduling a vote on the bipartisan version of S. 47 that overwhelmingly passed the Senate and was championed by both Democrats and Republicans.