In the midst of the fiscal cliff negotiations, Congress allowed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) to expire.
President Clinton signed VAWA into law in 1994, and Congress reauthorized the Act twice with broad bipartisan support. In its eighteen years of existence, VAWA has provided $4.7 billion for training police, prosecutors, health care professionals and many others on how to handle cases concerning sexual violence, domestic violence, stalking, and other related issues.
Senate Democrats began pushing for VAWA's reauthorization last March, but House Republicans reportedly took issue with new provisions of the law that would have expanded protections for undocumented immigrants, Native Americans and LGBT victims of violence. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) plans to reintroduce VAWA later this year.
Chris Mallios is an attorney advisor for AEquitas, an organization that trains law enforcement, prosecutors and advocates on issues relating to violence against women. He explains how VAWA-funded trainings have changed the way many Americans understand violence against women.