Women’s groups, including National Domestic Violence Hotline CEO Sheryl Cates, gathered at Vice President Joe Biden’s home Tuesday night to toast the 15th anniversary of landmark legislation aimed at eliminating violence against women.
“You’ve helped so many women step out of the darkness. You’ve helped so many young girls expect a different future, expect different treatment,” Biden said as he commemorated the 1994 Violence Against Women Act. “This is a day to celebrate. We have so much to be proud of.”
In addition to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, The National Women’s Law Center, FaithTrust Institute, National Network to End Domestic Violence and American Association of University Women were among the groups invited to the vice president’s residence, located on the grounds of the U.S. Naval Observatory in northwest Washington.
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.
The Violence Against Women Act, crafted by Biden while he served on the Senate Judiciary Committee as a senator from Delaware, led to more money for women’s shelters and law-enforcement training.
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.