Violence Against Women Act Renewed

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GRANTS PASS, Ore. — Thousands of domestic violence victims will continue to have a safe place to go after Congress renewed the Violence Against Women Act. President Barack Obama says he’ll sign the act as soon as it hits his desk.

The act passed in the House on Thursday in support of the 1994 law, which was expanded to extend domestic violence protections to gays, lesbians and transgender people – despite GOP congressmen rejecting the broader coverage.

Local shelters get funding from the act. Advocates spent more than a year waiting on lawmakers to take action on the law, so shelter coordinators are relieved to finally know what to expect for the future.

“Since last summer we’ve been waiting to see if it would pass because it’s critical to keeping our doors open if it didn’t pass in the future we would be looking at cuts in staffing or in programs that we offer to domestic violence victims,” explained Krisanna Albrecht with the Women’s Crisis Support Team.

Josephine County officials answered more than 5,200 domestic violence calls and nearly 300 women and children stayed overnight in the shelter in 2011. Jackson County reported nearly 2,500 calls per year and nearly 300 women and children stayed in a Jackson County shelter in 2011. Those overnight stay services and 24-hour emergency answering services will stay put because of the renewal.