New provisions to the "Violence Against Women Act" - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

New provisions to the "Violence Against Women Act"

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MADISON (WKOW) -- New provisions in the 2013 Violence Against Women Act better protect Native American women and immigrants in Wisconsin and around the United States.

A new landmark provision in the federal act gives tribal governments authority to protect Native American victims from non-native abusers. Not all domestic violence victims were completely protected or reached.

The Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence says some abusers use immigration status as a means of control to keep victims from reporting abuse to the police. The Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence says the new provisions provide special visas for victims who come forward and hold perpetrators accountable.

Tribal courts now have the authority they need to hold offenders in their communities accountable. Before the 2013 provision, Native American victims of domestic violence had trouble seeking justice because their courts were not allowed to prosecute non-native offenders, even for crimes committed on tribal land.

C.J. Doxtater, a Wisconsin tribal leader, says he thinks awareness will gradually make women in his community more comfortable, but he wants the community to understand the new provisions.

"I think the comfort comes later. The awareness and a sense of what it's all about is first, then the next phase will be the comfort," says Doxtater.

The new provisions of the Violence Against Women Act will also better ensure lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender victims can access services and add housing protections.

Protections for college students and public housing residents also improved under this new provision.

Click here for a link to the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence organization.

Click here for more information about the Violence Against Women Act.

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