Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- Congress may not be able to agree on budget cuts, but they were able to pass a key bill: The Violence Against Women’s Act (VAWA)
It’s taken Congress a year and a half to reauthorize VAWA, as they refer to it. It’s been kind of limping along on temporary measures. The new act not only puts many of the things established to prevent and respond to domestic violence back on solid ground, it expands them.
“We’re grown from providing nurses to one local hospital in the area to all four hospitals in the area since this past January,” said Vera House Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Anne Galloway. “When victims of sexual assault come to the emergency department they need a medical exam and they can have the option of having evidence collected for law enforcement.”
"To have that support initially meant all the difference to me and to be able to use agencies resources to give me support and help me heal really changed my life and I'm not sure that I would be here today if it weren't for those types of services,” said sexual assault victim Meaghan Greeley.
"Honestly, it was hard for me to understand and fathom some of the challenges that we went through without VAWA for that lengthy period of time. I'm really grateful that yesterday was a day of big celebration,” said Vera House Executive Director Randi Bregman.
What makes VAWA so successful is that it covers prevention, response, support, outreach, law enforcement and prosecution – a whole range of programs. Bregman says this bill now gives additional opportunities to help the underserved.