PALM DESERT, Calif. -

Rep. Raul Ruiz today voted for the Violence Against Women Act and will discuss the legislation -- of which he spoke in favor in his first House floor speech -- in Palm Desert tomorrow, his spokeswoman said.

The Violence Against Women Act passed the House of Representatives and U.S. Senate and will go to President Obama for his signature.

Ruiz, D-Palm Desert, will speak about the legislation on Friday at a news conference with local community leaders and elected officials at Palm Desert's Shelter From The Storm, which aids victims of domestic violence, according to Ruiz spokeswoman Whitney Mitchell said.

Shelter staff, local mayors and police chiefs, representatives from the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, Girl Scouts and the National Organization for Women and Riverside County Sexual Assault Services staff are expected to attend.

The bill provides stronger protections for women and strengthens the ability of the federal government, the states, law enforcement and service providers to fight domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking, according to Ruiz's office.

In his first speech on the floor of the House on Wednesday, Ruiz said that as an emergency room doctor, "I have seen firsthand the beaten and bruised bodies of women and the invisible scars left on the victim, her family and community."

"Native American women in my district and across the country endure an epidemic of domestic violence and in most cases the abusers are not members of the tribe," he said. "Tribes must have the right to protect their daughters, sisters and mothers from violence."