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A look at the Violence Against Women Act

Sadly, there are many Pennsylvania residents who have suffered because of domestic violence. Such violence can take many forms -- stalking, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and physical abuse can all fall under the category of domestic violence. Sometimes, victims of this kind of violence may not know what their rights are. It can be extremely difficult to know how to respond following an act of domestic violence. Thankfully, there are resources available for victims of such abuse.

One such resource that is available to victims of domestic violence is the Violence Against Women Act. The Violence Against Women Act, which was originally passed in 1994 with additions made in 1996, established a number of key programs and laws that go a long way in preventing domestic violence, as well as providing many forms of protection for victims.

With the Violence Against Women Act, the first national domestic abuse hotline was established. What's more, the changes to the law resulting from the act include allowing victims to confidentially change their address, as well as a change to immigration law that allows battered spouses to apply for permanent residency. Other key provisions include -- complete funding of court fees and rape kits associated with a protection order, special domestic violence crime units being implemented in neighborhoods, the recognition and enforcement of victim protection orders in all states and other important provisions that help to protect the rights of domestic violence victims.

Bringing a domestic violence case to court can be one of the most harrowing experiences a Pennsylvania resident can undergo. However, victims do not need to go about it alone. Attorneys are available to assist victims through this process, helping them come to a full understanding of their rights and actions are available to them.

Source: FindLaw, "Federal Domestic Violence Legislation: The Violence Against Women Act," accessed Nov. 2, 2015

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