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Joyful Heart in the News
Obama, Biden mark Domestic Violence Awareness Month with new programs
President Obama and Vice President Biden plan to announce a host of government-wide efforts to reduce domestic and sexual violence and end the cycle of abuse that affects primarily women and children.
"Domestic violence and sexual assault are not just criminal justice issues," the White House fact sheet on the event says. "The scope and far-reaching effects of violence require a coordinated response across the federal government."
Among the chilling statistics: one in four women experience domestic violence during their life; more than 20 million women in the U.S. have been victims of rape; 15.5 million children are exposed to domestic violence each year.
At 4 p.m. ET in the East Room at the White House, Obama and Biden will highlight:
• A new $1.5 billion maternal, infant and early childhood home visiting program for states to try to identify and reduce domestic violence.
• Government guidance for lawyers, judges and police on how to respond to domestic violence, help victims and punish perpetrators.
• A pilot program in Baltimore and New Orleans to encourage more private-practice lawyers to offer free services to victims of domestic violence.
• New efforts to reduce the backlog in rape-kit testing.
• New housing rules to ensure victims don't lose housing because of crimes commited against them and to allow housing authorities and landlords to evict abusers. Los Angeles Dodgers Manager Joe Torre and Law and Order: Special Victims Unit actor Mariska Hartigay will attend the event.
According to the White House: "Torre, a survivor of a violent home, is the founder of the Safe At Home Foundation, an organization dedicated to supporting victims of domestic violence and educating in order to end the cycle of abuse. Hargitay is the founder and president of the Joyful Heart Foundation, an organization dedicated to healing, educating and empowering victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse and child abuse."