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Violence Against Women Act passes in U.S. House of Representatives

As previously mentioned on this blog, any Texas domestic violence attorney knows that Dallas is taking steps toward increasing awareness about domestic violence and making efforts to reduce instances of domestic violence in the community. The Dallas mayor is holding a rally to educate men about domestic violence and inspire them to stop the practice, and other programs, including educational programs in schools are being started. Additionally, the city is placing a higher priority on domestic abuse arrests. Similar initiatives are springing up across the country and in the federal government.

Recently, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to renew the Violence Against Women Act. Previously, the bill had been passed in the Senate, and after passing in the House, it is being sent to President Obama for signature. The bill creates federal programs to assist local communities in aiding domestic abuse victims and expanding law enforcement in that area.

As shown by the desire to increase awareness of domestic abuse and protections available to victims, domestic violence is an issue that concerns entire local communities and the nation as a whole. Laws generally vary from state to state regarding who is considered a victim of domestic violence, and what types of protections are available. In the past, many state laws considered only spouses to be victims, though this has changed with the times, and the definition now includes other family members, children and dating partners. In most states, victims can get an order of protection from a court, such as a temporary restraining order.

The version of the bill passed in the House and Senate covers traditionally-defined victims of abuse, as well as gay, lesbian or transgender victims and includes greater options for American Indian women victims.

Source: NYtimes.com, "Domestic Violence Law Clears House, in Victory for Obama," Ashley Parker, Feb. 28, 2013

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