The Changing Landscape of DV Law

The domestic violence laws seem to be forever tightening. And to prove that point, Congressional Democrats recently renewed their push to revive a key federal program that protects women against domestic violence. The Violence Against Women Act (“VAWA”) became law in 1994 and was extended in both 2000 and in 2005. In 2011, the law expired, however, and although both the House and the Senate again passed VAWA bills last year, the Congressional Democrats and Republicans were unable to settle their differences, notwithstanding the fact that the Democrats were not opposed to removing a provision that would increase visas for immigrant victims of domestic abuse.

The main points of contention last year were provisions in the Senate-passed bill that increased protections for American Indians, gays and immigrants. Legislation that was introduced in the Senate Tuesday, and the identical bill House Democrats unveiled Wednesday, retain those protections but remove one provision that would increase what are called U visas available to immigrant victims. Last year, House Republicans claimed that was unconstitutional because the Senate imposed a fee to pay for the visa expansion and all revenue-raising measures must be initiated by the House.

The 1994 act provided funding for legal assistance for victims, enforcement of protection orders, transitional housing aid and youth prevention programs. Supporters say the annual incidence of domestic violence has dropped more than 50 percent since VAWA became law.

One thing is very clear – the government continues to aggressively crack down on any incident it perceives to be domestic violence. Most prosecuting attorneys’ offices in fact have a dedicated DV unit, wherein the sole purpose of the unit is to prosecute those accused of committing domestic violence. No domestic violence allegation is perceived to be simply a “squabble between partners”; rightly or wrongly, all domestic violence allegations are taken extremely seriously by the government.

The Seattle criminal attorneys that make up the criminal defense team of SQ Attorneys are highly seasoned and reputable Seattle domestic violence defense lawyers that are dedicated to providing top notch, aggressive representation for those arrested for domestic violence in and around Western Washington and the greater Puget Sound region. The team is designed to create success by working with law enforcement and the prosecuting attorney’s office so as to ensure that all facts and circumstances related to the criminal allegations brought against the accused are considered in creating the fairest, most equitable and just resolution possible in light of all the surrounding circumstances. If accused of a crime protect your rights – contact SQ Attorneys, (206) 293-9590; (425) 998-8384 – it will be the best decision you make all day.

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