President Obama Signs 2013 Anti-Violence Act (VAWA)
On March 7, 2013, President Obama signed into law the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013. This Act strengthens the prior Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) with increased protections for Native American women and other women previously not protected. During the signing ceremony, the President emphasized, “Tribal governments have an inherent right to protect their people, and all women deserve the right to live free from fear. And that is what today is all about”.
Special Risk for Native American Women
Currently, Native American women are more than twice as likely to experience domestic violence as non-Native women. A recent CDC study found that 46% of Native American women have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by a partner in their lifetime.
Following up on countless reports from Native women and tribal leaders, the Administration, led by the Department of Justice, consulted formally with the tribes and then developed and submitted to Congress a proposal to address the barriers that have allowed crimes of domestic violence in Indian country to go unprosecuted. Tribes will now be able to prosecute non-Indian perpetrators of domestic violence against Native American women in Indian country face additional barriers to escaping violence.
Key Features of VAWA:
The strengthened VAWA reminds us that a victim is a victim, regardless of race, sexual orientation, gender identity, immigration status, or tribal affiliation, and all women are worthy of protection. The law passed with large majorities of bipartisan support in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Key programs and services supported by VAWA include:
- For Women and Girls – Fights human trafficking, sexual coercion, violence, and rape;
- Violence prevention efforts against women on college campuses;
- Coaching boys into manhood;
- Engaging men to prevent violence against women;
- Promoting Tween and Teen violence awareness and protection programs;
- Supporting best practices for serving children, youth and parents;
- Provision of provider information and training to support effective identification and responding to domestic violence in health care settings;
- Conducting employer and employee centered violence prevention programs;
Key additional resources for VAWA information and services include:
- Family Violence Prevention Fund, a cross-linked Health Power Partner for Minority Health
- National Task Force to End Domestic Violence Website
- National Health Resource Center on Domestic Violence
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