Justice Department Commemorates Fifteen Years of the Violence Against Women Act

Mon Sep 14, 2009 6:51pm EDT

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

WASHINGTON, Sept. 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Department of Justice
today commemorated the 15th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act
(VAWA), which was signed into law on September 13, 1994.  This critical
legislation was created in recognition of the severity of the crimes
associated with domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.  The
anniversary also marks 15 years since the creation of the Department's Office
on Violence Against Women (OVW), which administers financial and technical
assistance to communities around the country to facilitate the creation of
programs, policies and practices aimed at ending domestic and dating violence,
sexual assault and stalking. 

"We've made tremendous progress since the Violence Against Women Act first
passed in 1994, but we have much more to do.  We cannot rest.  It will take
all of us to fulfill the promise to end domestic violence and sexual assault,"
said Vice President Joe Biden, the author of the landmark Violence Against
Women Act.

"The Violence Against Women Act forever changed the way this nation meets our
responsibility to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.  It has
been an essential building block in the Justice Department's work to end
violence against women," said Attorney General Eric Holder.  "It is only in
working together that we can make a difference and save lives, and the Justice
Department will continue to take every possible step to enforce laws
protecting victims of violence and to provide resources to aid victim service
providers."

"Without a doubt, VAWA would never have happened without the steadfast
commitment and work of the countless advocates, coalitions and community
partners who worked  tirelessly for federal legislation to mark the importance
of the issue and provide vital resources," said Catherine Pierce, Acting
Director of OVW.  "In the past 15 years, countless lives have been saved, the
voices of survivors have been heard, families have been protected, and the
criminal justice community has been trained on the complex responses to
domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking."

The anniversary marks the start of a year-long anniversary effort to raise
public awareness on issues around violence against women, to reinforce and
build coalitions among federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement and
victim services communities, and to reinforce the goal of ending domestic and
dating violence, sexual assault and stalking for men, women and children
across the country.

In recognition of the severity of the crimes associated with gender-motivated
violence, Congress passed VAWA as part of the Violent Crime Control and Law
Enforcement Act of 1994.  VAWA is comprehensive legislative designed to end
violence against women through criminal penalties, civil remedies, federal
grant programs, and research and was reauthorized in 2000 and 2005.  Since the
passage of VAWA, there has been a paradigm shift in how the issue of violence
against women is addressed in communities throughout the nation.

OVW was created to specifically implement VAWA and subsequent legislation.
Currently, OVW administers two formula grant programs and 17 discretionary
grant programs, all of which were established under VAWA and subsequent
legislation.  The office has also maintained a 15-year partnership with state,
local and tribal governments, coalitions, law enforcement, prosecutors, judges
and court personnel, victim advocates, health care providers and national
organizations.

Every day, VAWA funding makes a difference in how communities across America
help victims and hold offenders accountable.  For example, subgrantees
receiving funding awarded by states through OVW's STOP Violence Against Women
Formula Grant Program reported that, in calendar year 2007:

    --  More than 505,000 victims were served;
    --  Over 1,201,000 services were provided to victims; and

    --  More than 4,700 individuals were arrested for violations of protection
        orders.




SOURCE  U.S. Department of Justice

U.S. Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs, +1-202-514-2007, TDD:
+1-202-514-1888
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