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.