U.S. Sen. Al Franken and Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau on Monday highlighted the recent reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act during a Minneapolis news conference.
The bill provides funding to help local law enforcement respond to and prosecute domestic violence crimes.
Franken said the new act also improves protections for Native American, LGBT and immigrant victims.
"I wrote a couple provisions in the act, one, so that women, if they are raped, no longer will have to pay for their rape kits," Franken said. "Believe it or not, that's something that women have had to do, have had the humiliation of having to pay for their own rape kit."
Franken also sponsored a provision that would prevent victims of domestic violence from being evicted from federally subsidized housing.
Harteau says the Violence Against Women Act will fund more collaboration with victim advocates, and a police investigator to follow-up with perpetrators who have fled the scene.
"We have counted on VAWA money to fund leading-edge programs that have helped police officers collect evidence at the scene, which in turn, has increased our charging rate by 25 percent, and pushes offenders to good programs at the Domestic Abuse Project to give them tools to stop the violence," Harteau said. "That's prevention for the future."
The Minneapolis City Attorney says the city's conviction rate in domestic violence cases is up 50 percent in the last five years.