Women's organization talks about Violence Against Women Act - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Women's organization talks about Violence Against Women Act

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(02/12/13) - Federal funding for domestic violence programs hit a road block last year, when the U.S. Congress failed to renew the Violence Against Women Act.

Tuesday, before the President's speech, the Senate quietly passed a re-authorization bill that would pump more than $650 million over five years to programs supported by the act.

ABC12 News has reaction from a local agency that provides support to battered women.

A women's organization says the bill will help make sure women who are desperate to get out of a domestic situation will get the justice and support they deserve.

In Genesee County, Domestic violence claimed the lives of at least five women in 2012. That's according to the YWCA in Flint.

"Today the senate passed the Violence Against Women Act that Joe Biden wrote nearly 20 years ago and I now urge the house to the same," said President Obama.

"It's legislation that really strengthens the ability of law enforcement to prosecute domestic violence crimes," said Langford.

Harmony Langford, with the YWCA says a renewal of the Violence Against Women Act will do more to protect women in dangerous situations.

It was in place before congress failed to act last year, but Langford says she's seen how the dollars have helped saved thousands of lives.

"We receive close to $150,000 a year. It provides a lot of funding for education and helping to teach police officers how to respond appropriately to domestic calls," she said.

In addition to domestic violence programs, the money also means gays, lesbians, and Native American women will have equal access to the benefits.

"We really believe that this shouldn't be a political fight. Anyone who is a victim of partner violence, that shouldn't be up for political debate or argument and so we're hoping that republicans will join democrats and get this act passed," Langford said.

The bill now goes to the U.S. House for consideration.

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