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Biden’s VAWA-Created Domestic Violence Hotline Receives 2 Millionth Call

Domestic violence cases are nasty and nearly impossible to untangle.  And especially tough for kids who get caught in the middle.  The one constant: women who have been so beaten down that they don’t feel like they have anyone to turn to are the ones who most need a hand up. 

Joe Biden helped create a safe space with VAWA:

Approximately 1,400 women a year – four every day – die in the United States as a result of domestic violence. And 132,000 women report that they have been victims of a rape or attempted rape, and it is estimated that an even greater number have been raped, but do not report it.

Biden wrote and passed the landmark Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) (PDF) which is the strongest legislation to date that criminalizes domestic violence and other forms of violence against women, provides victims with the support they deserve, and holds batterers accountable. Signed into law in 1994, the bill funds and helps communities, nonprofit organizations, and police combat domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

VAWA establishes a sexual assault services program and provides education grants to prevent domestic violence.  Since VAWA was enacted, over 2,500 separate shelters, centers, and outreach offices have been established and the National Domestic Violence Hotline has received over 2 million calls.  Shining a spotlight on this violence has resulted both in better supports for victims, and lowering the incident rate of domestic violence by 60%.

Having sat with women who were bruised, battered, terrified and shattered, sheltering kids from a screaming spouse in the courthouse lobby, and reading through one too many lab reports on broken bones and lacerations, I can tell you that VAWA makes a difference, especially by helping to fund shelters. I’ve done pro-bono representation of folks seeking a protection order, and had violent assholes follow me to my car, screaming threats along the way, afterward. 

What Joe Biden did in writing VAWA, among many things, was to provide funds and expertise for training officers, prosecutors and judges across the country to better work these cases, and provide real help for victims who so desperately need hope.  Bravo.

Hotline advocates are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you need help, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or TTY 1-800-787-3224. For more information visit www.ndvh.org.

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com

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