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Reauthorization bill protects domestic violence victims in Texas

No individual in Houston or anywhere in the country deserves to experience domestic violence. Domestic problems come in various forms, such as physical abuse and domestic assault. The abuse can impact children, spouses and intimate partners. Recently, the United States Senate took action to address the growing problem of domestic violence across the country.

A person experiencing abuse from their partner or someone they know may obtain a restraining order. The restraining order varies from state to state. In Texas, victims of domestic violence may use an ex-parte protective order. This may keep the abuser away from the home, a place of employment and a child's school. An ex-parte order may be valid for a certain period of time. If it is signed, the validity may expire within 20 days and if it is granted by the court, the protective order may be extended for two years.

On February 12, 2013, the Senate reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act with votes of 78 to 22.The reauthorization bill allows $659 million for VAWA programs for five years. The bill also provides protection for lesbians, gays, bisexual, transgender and Native American victims of domestic violence. Additionally, the bill stresses paying more attention to prevent sexual assault. VAWA was introduced in 1994 in order to offer services and programs to victims of domestic violence. Reforms brought by VAWA were voted on 93 to 5, to include provisions regarding human trafficking and 100 to zero about a provision to assist children who are victims of sexual trafficking.

The VAWA bill may save the lives of many people. President Obama praised the votes, saying that passing the bill may be one way to decrease homicides that result from domestic problems in the household.

Source: Huffingtonpost, "VAWA Vote: Senate Overwhelmingly Passes Violence Against Women Act," Jennifer Bendery, Feb. 12, 2013

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