The News Service of Florida reported that advocates for battered women and sexual assault survivors are totally shocked that Congress adjourned without taking up a bill that would have reauthorized the Violence Women Act.
The report says that the criminal justice system was helping those abused victims by providing services. It stated that since Florida has such a large population of immigrant women, there is a higher risk for violence in relationships.
The act has been reauthorized twice and, according to the information, it was traditionally bipartisan. However, the U. S. Senate voted 68-31 to pass a reauthorization bill but the
House did not do so because they felt it protected undocumented immigrants, Native Americans and lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender people, and barely passed its version in May – 222 to 205. With no further action, the bill officially died.
“Abusers know there are cracks in the system, and they leap through them every day,” said Linda Osmundson of the battered women’s shelter in St. Petersburg.
An aide to Leahy’s Senate Judiciary Committee said the bill will be introduced for reauthorization early when the 112th Congress convenes. Funding is already in place. According to the news service, Florida funds its domestic violence services primarily through a trust fund along with general revenues.
Leiss Wiseman of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence said, the state’s domestic violence shelters turned away 3, 471 people in Fiscal Year 2011-2012.