By Jueseppi B.
Today, President Obama signed a bill that both strengthened and reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Thanks to the bipartisan agreement, thousands of victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking will be able to access resources they need in their communities to help heal from their trauma.
Do you have questions about the Violence Against Women Act? On Friday, March 8th at 3:45 p.m. ET, we’re holding a session of White House Office Hours on Twitter with Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President and Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls, and Lynn Rosenthal, White House Advisor on Violence Against Women, to answer your questions.
Here’s how it works:
- Ask your questions now and during the live event on Twitter with the hashtag #WHChat
- Follow the Q&A live through the @WHLive and @VJ44 Twitter accounts
- If you miss the live session, the full session will be posted onWhiteHouse.gov and Storify.com/Whitehouse
President Obama Signs Violence Against Women Act – Full Video
Published on Mar 7, 2013
President Obama signs the Violence Against Women Act. He made passing the bill reauthorizing the lapsed law one of his top priorities in his State of The Union Address at the beginning of his second term. Republicans in Congress responded by rising up to prevent further blocking of the bill’s passage.
Ed. note: This article by Valerie Jarrett was first published on the Huffington Post. You can read it here. On Friday, March 8th at 3:45 p.m. ET, Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President and Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls, will participate in a session of White House Office Hours to answers your questions about the Violence Against Women Act on Twitter. Ask questions now with #WHChat, and then follow the Q&A live.
Today, President Obama signed a bill that both strengthened and reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Thanks to this bipartisan agreement, thousands of women and men across the country who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking will be able to access resources they need in their communities to help heal from their trauma. In addition, thousands of law enforcement officers will be better equipped to stop violence before it starts, and respond to calls of help when they are needed.
President Obama and Vice President Biden have steadfastly supported reauthorization—it’s what’s right for our country. We thank Senators Patrick Leahy, Mike Crapo, and Patty Murray and Representatives Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer and Gwen Moore for guiding this legislation to passage.
For the past 18 years, since Vice President Biden initially wrote the Act in 1994, VAWA has helped to decrease the rates of domestic violence across the country. Three years ago, our federal interagency group on violence against women began meeting to consider gaps in our country’s response to this violence and make recommendations to Congress to fill those gaps. We are proud that many of these recommendations were included in the final bill. Now, we will be better equipped to recognize violence in its early stages, and help to reduce the number of domestic violence homicides.
The reauthorization also makes a strong effort to address the extraordinarily high rates of violence among our young people. Last week, in honor of Teen Dating Violence Awareness month, I had the opportunity to speak, along with Vice President Biden, at an event with families of victims of dating violence, and youth and organizations. It was incredibly encouraging to see people of all ages united in the fight against teen dating violence.
I am proud to say that now, teens and young adults will have better access to prevention and intervention programs to help break the cycle of violence aground the country. Studies have shown that one in five women will be the victim of an attempted or completed sexual assault while they are in college. We need to find a way to help these young scholars be able to focus on growing and learning, instead of being fearful of being assaulted on campus. This Act will help by requiring colleges and universities to provide information to students about dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking and improve data collection about these crimes. We call on all of our colleges and universities to make ending sexual assault a top priority.
In addition, the bill removes barriers faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) victims, whose needs are often overlooked by law enforcement, prosecutors, courts, and victim service providers.
We are also thrilled that Congress held the line and maintained protections for battered immigrants and took the important step of also reauthorizing the Trafficking Victims Protection Act in this same legislation.
Finally and very importantly, VAWA will bring justice for Native American victims. Rates of domestic violence perpetrated on Native American women are among the highest in the country. VAWA will help to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the tribal justice system and bring perpetrators of violence to justice.
No one should have to live in fear of violence, especially in her home, and VAWA affirms that belief. Today’s signing ensures that victims and survivors can continue to be provided the vital resources they deserve. Our country is better off for it.
Doubling Down on the Fight against Human Trafficking
Luis CdeBaca, Thomas E. Perez
March 07, 2013
Today President Obama signed into law a renewal of the Violence Against Women Act, a reaffirmation of our nation’s commitment to putting a stop to violence against women and other vulnerable groups. Since the Violence Against Women Act first became law in 1994, domestic violence in the United States has dropped by 64%. Today’s reauthorization will bring to bear new tools to aid law enforcement and provide support to victims. Congress passed the law with bipartisan support, and it’s something that all Americans should be proud of.
And there is even more good news to report.
Because as part of the bill reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, today President Obama also signed into law the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA), which reauthorizes the landmark legislation that provides critical support to law enforcement, victims support providers, and U.S. diplomats to fight modern slavery at home and abroad. On September 25, 2012, the President declared in a speech dedicated to human trafficking that the fight against modern slavery is “one of the great human rights causes of our time” and pledged that the United States would continue to lead the global effort to eradicate this crime. In that speech, the President called on Congress to renew the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. Thanks to the leadership of key Members of Congress, including Senator Patrick Leahy, Leader Nancy Pelosi and Congresswoman Gwen Moore, this goal became a reality.
Under President Obama’s leadership, and in coordination with state and local authorities, the U.S. government is making the fight against modern slavery a new priority. We’re working with stakeholders at every level of government, with NGOs and faith leaders, and with the private sector on increasing outreach, protections, and services for child victims, focusing attention on supply chains to curb labor trafficking, and leveraging technology to stop traffickers and protect the innocent.
The TVPRA will provide additional means to forward this agenda at home and around the world.
On the global stage, the TVPRA will offer increased support to the State Department’s diplomatic engagement—work that has been critical to building awareness around the world for the anti-trafficking movement over the last decade. At the same time, the law bolsters protections for vulnerable children and domestic workers. It seeks to reward effective partnerships that bring services to survivors and put traffickers behind bars. And it supports the development of effective laws by partner countries to hold accountable anyone who robs another of their freedom, whether that trafficker is a pimp, a corrupt labor recruiter, or even a diplomat.
Here at home, the TVPRA will enhance the protections we’ve long offered immigrant victims of trafficking. It will enable agencies across the federal government to better share information, and to get that information out to those who need it most—victims, survivors, and those at risk. The new TVPRA also increases support for investigations and prosecutions. Law enforcement and justice officials will now be able to use organized crime provisions to crack down on fraudulent foreign labor recruiters, and new provisions will make it easier to pursue cases in which traffickers have confiscated immigration documents from foreign victims.
The TVPRA will allow the Department of Justice and its partners to continue and build on existing programs, such as specialized Anti-Trafficking Coordination Teams currently at work in select pilot districts around the country. It will also further the development of a federal strategic action plan to strengthen services for trafficking victims and help to preserve and protect the human rights of children and adults in the United States and around the world.
And as the global anti-trafficking movement continues to grow, the TVPRA will enable innovative new programs. Those of us in the government will work to develop the tools and techniques that will carry this effort forward for years to come, whether changing the way we deliver support to child victims or harnessing new technologies to improve trafficking investigations and prosecutions. The key to these innovations will be partnerships—among governments, the private sector, civil society, the faith community, and any other stakeholder committed to putting a stop to modern slavery.
These partnerships will be essential moving forward. Bringing more groups and individuals into the struggle for freedom is key to our future success. All of us share a responsibility to combat slavery, no matter what form it takes. The TVPRA signed into law today is a call for all Americans to take up that responsibility, and to continue the work of building a world free from slavery.
Luis CdeBaca is Ambassador-at-Large, Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking at the U.S. Department of State. Thomas E. Perez is Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice.
Violence Against Women Act
While tremendous progress has been made since the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was first enacted, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking are still significant problems facing women, families, and communities.The new VAWA bill signed into law by President Obama March 7, 2013 will continue effective programs, make targeted expansions to address the needs of especially vulnerable populations, and help prevent violence in future generations.
Dating Violence Resources
If you are having an emergency, please call 911. If you have been abused and need help, please reach out to the Dating Abuse Helpline by phone call (1-866-331-9474), text (text “loveis” to 77054) or online chat.
- Understanding Teen Dating Violence: Fact sheet from the Centers for Disease Control explaining what dating violence is; how dating violence affects health; who is at risk for dating violence; and how to prevent dating violence.
- Healthy Relationships: Information from GirlsHealth.gov on forming healthy relationships and working through problems in relationships.
- Relationship Safety: Questions and answers from GirlsHealth.gov to help understand how to spot an unhealthy relationship and what to do if you or a friend is in an unhealthy or abusive relationship.
- What is Rape?: Information from GirlsHealth.gov about what rape and sexual assault are, what you should know about date rape drugs, who you can call for help, and tips on how to protect yourself.
- Dating Violence Resources: Hotline numbers and a list of links to other resources from the Department of Justice’s Office of Violence Against Women.
- Sexual Assault Resources: Hotline numbers and a list of links to other resources from the Department of Justice’s Office of Violence Against Women.
- Sexual Assault Fact Sheet: Information from WomensHealth.gov on what sexual assault is, what to do if you’ve been sexually assaulted, where to go for help, how to lower your risk of sexual assault, and how to help someone who has been sexually assaulted.
- Dating Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking Resources: Hotline numbers and links to other resources on each topic from the Department of Justice’s Office of Violence Against Women.
- Break the Silence: Stop the Violence: Video from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in which parents talk with teens about developing healthy, respectful relationships before they start dating.
- Dating Matters: Understanding Teen Dating Violence Prevention: Free online course from VetoViolence.org available to educators and others working with teens. The 60 minute training video includes information on how to: understand teen dating violence and its consequences; identify factors that can place teens at risk for dating violence; and communicate with teens about the importance of healthy relationships;
- Higher Education Center for Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Violence Prevention: The Center helps campuses and communities address problems of alcohol, other drugs, and violence (including violence against women) by identifying effective strategies and programs based on prevention science.
- Campus Sexual Assault Guidance: Guidance from the Department of Education explaining that the requirements of Title IX cover sexual violence and reminds of their responsibilities to take immediate and effective steps to respond to sexual violence in accordance with the requirements of Title IX.
- Services, Training, Education and Policies to Reduce Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking in Secondary Schools Grant Program (STEP): This discretionary grant program run through the Department of Justice’s Office of Violence Against Women supports middle and high schools to develop and implement effective training, services, prevention strategies, policies, and coordinated community responses for student victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
- Violence Against Women (Office of Women’s Health)
- Outreach Posters: Outreach posters from the Department of Justice’s Office of Victims of Crime promote community awareness of victims’ rights, including posters on violence against women, stalking, and domestic abuse.
- Sexual Assault Response Team Toolkit: A collection of resources that service providers may use to formalize, expand on, or evaluate their interagency responses.
- CDC’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS): On December 14, 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) 2010 Summary Report. The findings show that, on average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States. Over the course of a year, that equals more than 12 million women and men. Those numbers only tell part of the story –1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men have been raped in their lifetimes, the vast majority before the age of 25.These findings demonstrate that sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence are important and widespread public health problems in the United States. The report underscores the heavy toll of this violence, particularly on women; the immediate impacts of victimization; and the lifelong health consequences of these forms of violence.
- Shifting Boundaries: A Summary of Findings from a National Institute of Justice Experimental Evaluation of a Youth Dating Violence Prevention Program in New York City Middle Schools: The National Institute of Justice has released a study by Bruce Taylor, Ph.D., Nan D. Stein, Ed.D., Dan Woods, Ph.D., Elizabeth Mumford, Ph.D., which examines the impact of a dating violence prevention program for middle school students in a large urban school district. Researchers concluded that a comprehensive school program was effective in reducing dating violence and sexual harassment.
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