WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar called for swift passage of the Violence Against Women Act. In a speech on the Senate floor, Klobuchar highlighted the critical need to take immediate action to pass the Violence Against Women Act into law, which would continue to help law enforcement combat domestic violence across the nation. The legislation includes Klobuchar’s provision to strengthen federal stalking laws and help law enforcement more effectively target high-tech predators. The Senate is considering the Violence Against Women Act on the floor today, but the House of Representatives has yet to schedule a vote.
“The only difference between a person who beats someone up in a dark alley and a person who beats someone up in their own living room is a closed door. Violence is violence, no matter where it takes place,” Klobuchar said. “The Senate has come together again this Congress to take quick action on this critical bill, and now it is time for the House to finally pass this bipartisan and commonsense legislation.”
The Violence Against Women Actreauthorization contains many important changes to the current law, such as consolidating duplicative programs and streamlining others; providing greater flexibility for how communities utilize resources; and including new training requirements for people providing legal assistance to victims. The Senate passed similar legislation last Congress, but the House of Representatives did not vote on the bill.
The legislation also includes a provision similar to bipartisan legislation Klobuchar and former Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) introduced called theStalkers Act. Their bill would strengthen and update federal anti-stalking laws to better address the new technology predators are using to harass their victims. Current federal anti-stalking laws are outdated and may not effectively cover all acts of electronic surveillance and other means of stalking, including spyware, bugging, video surveillance, and other new technology used by modern-day stalkers. Klobuchar’s and Hutchison’s provision empowers law enforcement to prosecute any act of stalking that would “reasonably be expected” to cause a person serious emotional distress. ESPN reporter Erin Andrews, a victim of high-tech stalking, has previously joined Klobuchar to call for stronger federal anti-stalking laws.