President Obama signs LGBT-inclusive Violence Against Women Act

VAWAsigningPresident Obama today signed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization bill into law. The 1994 federal law provides funds to enhance investigation and prosecution of violent crimes such as domestic violence and sexual assault, and it bolsters victim services programs. For the first time, this landmark measure includes explicit protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) survivors of domestic violence. It also includes enhanced protections for Native American and immigrant survivors, and campus safety provisions.

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund along with a broad coalition of organizations successfully lobbied for the inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity in the law. The Task Force was present at today’s bill signing.

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey says:

This is a historic moment for our country. For the first time, this lifesaving law contains explicit protections for LGBT people. To be the target of domestic and sexual assault is terrifying and traumatic, and LGBT people are not immune from this violence. This inclusive Violence Against Women Act is critical to ensuring that the distress experienced by survivors of sexual violence is not compounded by a lack of proper response from service providers or law enforcement. We applaud all those who worked so hard to make sure no one was left behind in this law. We are proud to be a partner in this victory. Thousands of survivors of domestic and sexual violence will get the care they need because so many stood firm for what is right. This is a great day for America.