NEW YORK—The city’s Family Justice Centers could receive more funding with the passage of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, said Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Tuesday.
The Family Justice Centers allows victims of domestic violence to meet with a prosecutor, counselor, and allows them to apply for financial assistance and housing.
When the Senate passed a similar domestic violence bill in 2012, the House rejected it, prompting the Senate to give it another go in 2013. On Tuesday, the Senate voted 78-22 for the act, reflecting bipartisan support for the bill. Although, all “no” votes came from Republicans lawmakers.
“I strongly urge the House to take up and quickly pass the Senate bill, which expands vital domestic violence services,” Bloomberg. There is no date set for the House vote on the bill.
The New York City Police Department responded to 234,988 domestic violence incidents in the city in 2008, and city police also recorded 70 family-related homicides that year, according to the Center Against Domestic Violence. New York’s Domestic Violence Courts have seen more than 100,000 cases since 1996, according to official statistics.
“There is strong, bipartisan support for [Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act], and together we can finally finish what we started last year,” stated Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Democrat who was the main author of the bill.
Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida, said he voted against the measure because he “could not support the final, entire legislation that contains new provisions that could have potentially adverse consequences.” He said that the bill would shift a portion of funding from domestic violence programs to sexual assault programs, adding that there is “no evidence to suggest this shift will result in a greater number of convictions.”
“Additionally, I have concerns regarding the conferring of criminal jurisdiction to some Indian tribal governments over all persons in Indian country, including non-Indians,” he said.
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