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15 Years After Joe Biden's Landmark Domestic Violence Legislation

By September 30, 2009

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If there was a graphic novel about the history of domestic violence legislation, Joe Biden would be its superhero. As a senator from Delaware on the Senate Judiciary Committee, he put together legislation and funding to support battered women's shelters and train law enforcement to handle domestic violence situations. In 1994, he saw his labors come to fruition in the landmark Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

According to the Associated Press, in the decade that followed passage of VAWA:

Domestic violence rates fell sharply between 1993 and 2004. The Bureau of Justice Statistics said that "intimate partner violence" rates fell by more than 50 percent, which some experts attributed to key elements of the 1994 law.

Last night, now-Vice President Joe Biden gathered with advocates of women's groups at the vice president's mansion to celebrate the 15th anniversary of VAWA:

Biden recalled how domestic violence was once regarded as a private matter. "It wasn't the business of the government. It's a family matter," he told about 100 guests. Advocates for women inspired a different attitude, he said....

Juley Fulcher of the organization Break the Cycle...a guest at the event, said there's more work to do to prevent dating violence and to provide services for teenagers who have experienced domestic and sexual violence. "There's definitely room for improvement," she said.

Teen attitudes regarding dating violence, from the Chris Brown Rihanna assault to the partner abuse experienced by their peers, support Fulcher's views.

There will be plenty of opportunities to expand awareness and change minds as October ushers in National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. I'll be highlighting programs and websites that offer resources and information throughout the upcoming month.

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September 30, 2009 at 7:00 pm
(1) Alexis A Moore says:

Rosenthal and The White House are “looking in to domestic violence” by monitoring Womens Legal Resource and Survivors In Action blogs and web sites, this is how they are quote “looking in to domestic violence” we need action! SIA has volunteers willing to get to work to help take action to ensure “No Victim is Left Behind”. Hopefully this offer will be accepted and soon before more lives are lost.

June 4, 2010 at 5:49 pm
(2) molly says:

Please, please put a stop to this insidious pattern of behavior. I would liken it to cancer, once it happens it just spreads to my two little girls, who are in the cross-fire. They are indirecly abused because of him. Escape, does not exist, that is, unless I kidnap my two daughters, and then am subsequently jailed for protecting my life as well as the lives of my children. How is that illegal?

October 10, 2012 at 1:52 pm
(3) Anne Caroline Drake says:

Thank you, Linda, for reminding readers of this column. It is timeless.

Since you first published it, the Internet has exploded with survivors in action ~ each contributing their unique talents to protecting women from violence.

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