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Subcommitee Approves VAWA Reauthorization

The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime approved, by voice vote, a bill (H.R. 1248) to reauthorize the 1994 Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) (P.L. 103-22). Grant programs authorized under VAWA are set to expire at the end of this fiscal year.

Prior to approving the bill, the subcommittee adopted, by voice vote, a manager’s amendment by Subcommittee Chair Bill McCollum (R-FL) that made several technical changes to the bill, including changes to the bill’s definition of domestic violence, stalking, underserved populations, and state sexual assault coalitions.

Despite approval of the manager’s amendment, Rep. McCollum stated that he would continue to negotiate language dealing with the definition of sexual assault coalitions prior to full committee consideration. Additionally, the subcommittee debated at length an amendment by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) that sought to restore the definition of underserved populations to the original language contained in H.R. 1248. Under the bill, underserved populations would include race, ethnicity, age, disability, sexual orientation, religion, alienage status, geographic location, and any other populations determined to be underserved by states. However, the manager’s amendment changed the definition to include age only and any other populations determined to be underserved by states. The Conyers’ amendment was defeated, 4-5.

The subcommittee adopted an amendment offered by Reps. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) and Steve Chabot (R-OH) that would allow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to use rape prevention grant money to train and hire Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners. The amendment was approved by voice vote.

Sponsored by Rep. Connie Morella (R-MD), H.R. 1248 would reauthorize law enforcement and prosecution VAWA grants at $185 million in FY2001 through 2003 and $195 million in FY2004. The domestic violence hotline would be authorized at $1.8 million in FY2001, and $2 million in FY2002 through 2004. Battered women’s shelters and services administered through the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act would be authorized at $160 million in FY2001, $200 million in FY2002, and $260 million in FY2003 and 2004. Additionally, grants for community initiatives would be authorized at $9 million in FY2001, $10 million in FY2002, $11 million in FY2003, and $12 million in FY2004. Grants for education and training for judges and court personnel in state courts would be authorized at $1.5 million for FY2001 through 2004. Identical grants for federal courts would be authorized at $500,000 for FY2001 through 2004.

Grants to encourage arrest policies would be authorized at $67 million in FY2001 and $70 million in FY2002 through 2004. Rural domestic abuse and child abuse enforcement would be authorized at $35 million for FY2001 through 2004 and stalking and domestic violence reduction programs would be authorized at $3 million for FY2001 through 2004.

Education and prevention grants to reduce sexual abuse of runaway and homeless youth would be authorized at $22 million for FY2001 through FY2004. Court-Appointed Special Advocates would be authorized at $12 million for FY2001 through 2004. Child abuse training programs for judicial personnel would be authorized at $2.3 million in FY2001 through 2004 and grants for televised testimony would be authorized at $1 million for FY2001 through 2004. Rape prevention programs would be authorized at $105 million in FY2001 and 2002, and $155 million in FY2003 and 2004.

Saying that VAWA made a “tremendous difference,” Rep. Morella added: “This dirty little secret of domestic violence that has permeated our lives is coming out from under the rug.”

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