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Texas domestic violence center pushes Congress to renew law

One of the difficulties many domestic violence victims suffer is the inability to leave their abuser. Many women simply don't have the financial wherewithal to uproot and start a new life somewhere else. And even if they do, there's often no guarantee that their abuser won't find them and continue the behavior.

Texas' domestic violence centers help victims by providing shelter, security and other resources to help them escape the violence and move on with their lives. A considerable amount of these centers' funding comes from grants by the federal government as a result of the Violence Against Women Act. Passed in 1994, the legislation also created tougher federal sentences for sex offenders and allowed free exams for rape victims. In addition, the law provides money to law enforcement agencies for their domestic violence units.

But the law also came with an expiration date. It was renewed last year, but appears to be stuck in a holding pattern as Congress grapples over competing bills to reauthorize the law. Suggested updates include protections for LGBT couples and undocumented immigrants, which many legislators are against.

At least one Texas domestic violence center is urging Congress to resolve their differences and renew the law, explaining that the need to stop domestic violence supersedes politics. Safe Place of the Permian Basin is located in Ector County, Texas, which has double the state average of reported domestic violence incidents per 100,000 people. Its staff has been writing to Texas' U.S. senators and representatives on behalf of all domestic violence victims in the state.

Domestic abuse victims shouldn't have to wait for the legislative bickering to die down before they can feel safe. In the meantime, some victims in need of legal protection may benefit from consulting with a family law attorney with experience in handling domestic violence cases.

Source: OA Online, "Safe Place pushes Congress to renew anti-violence law," Corey Paul, Nov. 13, 2012

• Our firm stands ready to help you with the legal issues of your domestic violence situation. To learn more about our practice, please visit our Dallas family law website.

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