Updated 03/01/2013 05:30 PM
Celebrating the extension of the Violence Against Women Act
A celebration in Syracuse Friday marked congressional approval, extending a bill that was supposed to be approved more than a year ago. YNN's Bill Carey says backers of the Violence Against Women Act say common sense finally won out over gridlock.
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Representative Dan Maffei said, “If we can come together, republicans and democrats, we can do good things.”
For democrat Dan Maffei, it was a rare opportunity to declare a bi-partisan victory in a Congress that has often seemed hopelessly divided along party lines.
More than a year after House republicans had blocked a routine renewal of the Violence Against Women Act, the measure finally was approved with democrat and republican support. Backers were able to overcome some objections to extension of aid to same sex couples and some immigrants.
“It was a day of great victory. We would have rather celebrated that about 500 days ago, but we'll take it where it is today and I think standing together as a community and as a nation, once again,” said Randi Bregman, Vera House Executive Director.
Maffei said, “It needed to become even more inclusive. That's why it was expanded. It's about making sure that any person who is subject to domestic or sexual violence can get the appropriate help they need.”
Supporters have argued again and again that the Act, since its first adoption in the 1990s, has had a measurable impact on the number of domestic abuse cases.
“Violence against intimate partners has dropped almost two-thirds. Most importantly, homicides. Males victims have gone down about 45 percent since this was passed. Females victims almost one-third,” Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick said.
For victims of abuse, the passage means that key programs will continue and may even be expanded in the coming months.
“I know all too well how important it is to have safe, comprehensive resources and services available,” said Meaghan Greeley, a domestic abuse survivor.
The celebration, at times, was emotional.
“It means a lot and I've used every resource there is. Okay,” said domestic abuse survivor Katie Stager.
But the key message of the day was appreciation that action had finally come.