The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), originally passed in 1994, expired in 2011. Now, Ohioan supporters, lead by Ohio Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown, are fighting to have the bill speedily reauthorized after it reached a halt in the Senate last month. Reauthorization of VAWA usually takes place every five years, but since all eight GOP senators in the Judiciary Committee recently voted the bill down, the debate continues.
The main reasons for the formerly bipartisan bill to have come to a standstill are the Democratic provisions added to this year’s attempt at reauthorization. Disputed amendments include increased provisions on tribal law particularly for women on Native American tribal lands, increasing LGBT rights and allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain citizenship in order to gain protection under the law from domestic violence crimes. Republicans worry the increased protection for minorities could lead to immigration fraud as well as have concerns about the distribution of funds for the proposed provisions.
Along with the new conditions, the reenactment of VAWA creates controversy as to whether or not Congress should again toughen federal penalties for domestic violence against women and children for crimes such as child abuse charges in Columbus. If reauthorized, VAWA services, overseen by the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services, would fund initiatives in the fight against domestic violence against women including funding groups and organizations, at both the local and state level, that help domestic violence victims find legal support, emergency housing and other resources meant to aid victims of domestic violence.
With heavy support by thousands across the nation, the new VAWA bill may pass in the near future. Currently, penalties for Ohio domestic violence charges vary greatly depending on the offense and whether the offender has a previous record for similar crimes. Convictions range from misdemeanor of the first degree for certain domestic assault crimes to felony of the second degree for more serious offenses including sexual battery. Many domestic violence crimes, depending on the severity of the offense, may also impose minimum jail time as well as revoke special licenses such as firearm permits.
If you or someone you know is arrested for domestic assault, it’s extremely important to obtain an attorney who can help defend your rights against charges and possibly even harsher punishments in the future. As a Columbus criminal defense attorney, I help protect individuals accused of domestic violence charges within Delaware County, Franklin County, Madison County, Licking County, Fairfield County, Pickaway County and other surrounding areas of Columbus. A domestic violence charge can have damaging effects to your career, reputation and personal life. Call 614-444-1900 to schedule a free consultation today.