Bush Extends Violence Against Women Act

Associated Press
Friday, January 6, 2006

President Bush yesterday signed an extension of the Violence Against Women Act, which aims to curtail domestic violence through funding for women's shelters and law enforcement training.

The act, which expired in September, helps children exposed to violence, trains health care workers on how to support victims of abuse, and encourages men to teach youngsters that violence is wrong. The extension includes new provisions on health care, early intervention and outreach to Native American women.

It originally passed Congress in 1994 and was renewed in 2000. The latest renewal calls for extending the legislation for five years, at a cost of about $3.9 billion. That figure represents a 20 percent increase over the last five-year extension, although actual funding levels will be left to yearly appropriations legislation.

Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and sponsor of the legislation, applauded the bill signing.

"This law supports programs that have been successful in combating domestic violence and changing attitudes toward violence in the family," Sensenbrenner said, adding that the act also works to change attitudes toward dating violence, sexual assault and stalking.

Esta Soler, president of the Family Violence Prevention Fund, urged Congress to fully fund all the programs the law contains.

"Only if we do that will we be able to say that our nation is doing all it can to stop domestic and sexual violence, and help victims," Soler said.

© 2006 The Washington Post Company