On Tuesday, the United States Senate voted 78-22 to renew the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which expired in 2011. The issue will next go before the House of Representatives, where a different version of the bill is being created. Last year, the House and Senate both passed bills renewing VAWA, but failed to reach a compromise over one provision regarding tribal courts’ ability to prosecute non-Indians accused of assaulting Indian women on reservations.
Violence against women in the United States continues to be a prevalent issue. A 2011 report by UN Special Rapporteur Manjoo noted a continued prevalence of violence and discriminatory treatment of women in the U.S., particularly for poor, minority, and immigrant women. The report cited VAWA as one positive step that had been taken, but remarked that a lack of protective legislation was a contributing factor to the amount of violence that continues to occur.