By Brad Segall

UWCHLAN TOWNSHIP, Pa. (CBS) –- Advocates for domestic violence victims say the murder of a Chester County woman Sunday night in a convenience store parking lot, allegedly at the hands of her estranged husband (see related story), reinforces the need for Congress to reauthorize the federal Violence Against Women Act.

The act helps enforce laws against offenders for domestic violence, sexual assault, and other crimes against women.  It also includes million of dollars’ worth of funding that nonprofit organizations say is critical for them to continue providing services to women.

Maria Macaluso, executive director of the Women’s Center of Montgomery County, says without the funding, services and jobs would be cut.

“It’s the ability to collaborate with police departments, with the courts, with prosecutors, that we all come together and we figure out a holistic approach to responding to victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, stalking,” she tells KYW Newsradio.

More than a dozen representatives of victim services agencies met with US Rep. Pat Meehan (R-Pa.) to give him ammunition to take back to Washington to help fight for the legislation.

The attorney for murder victim Kimberly Hvizda says his client had a protection-from-abuse order, and feared her estranged husband James would kill her.

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