The U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution today commemorating the 15th anniversary of the critically important Violence Against Women Act and what it has meant for America's women. The actual anniversary of the act's passage is September 13th, when President Bill Clinton signed it into law as part of the Omnibus Crime Bill of 1994.
"The 15th anniversary of this landmark legislation serves as a reminder that despite this strong response to issues of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking, there is still much more work to be done," said Congresswoman Hirono. "Honolulu police reportedly respond to more than a thousand calls of domestic violence each month. One in seven women in Hawaii has been sexually assaulted in their lifetime. On this anniversary, we must all rededicate ourselves to better protecting America's women from violence and to support the survivors of these types of crimes."
As a result of the passage of the Violence Against Women Act, there is now a clearer understanding and awareness of a violent crime victim's special needs. Education and training programs have since been established to effectively handle these cases. The number of domestic violence shelters, rape crisis centers and comprehensive service programs have also increased since the bill was enacted.
This law not only strengthens criminal laws and provides funding to improve the criminal justice system's response to these serious crimes, it also established a foundation for coordinated community responses to end violence against women by bringing together victim advocates, law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and the judiciary.
The U.S. Department of Justice is launching a year-long celebration of the 15th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act. It is using this occasion to raise public awareness of the many forms of violence against women and to support community efforts to assume responsibility for ending violence against women.