While our nation has made significant progress in addressing domestic violence by responding to the stories and leadership of courageous survivors, as well as through advocacy and legislative action, domestic violence nonetheless remains all too common in America. During National Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, we continue to shine a light on the causes of this scourge, build the capacity of federal, state, tribal, territorial and local authorities to act, and call on all communities to strengthen prevention efforts. My administration works to ensure that all survivors have access to the justice and support they need for their healing and well-being.
When I introduced the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in the Senate in 1990 with the support of many members of Congress and community advocates, we began to bring these abuse cases out of the shadows. For too long, few people in this country have been willing to call domestic violence a national epidemic. VAWA has increased survivors’ access to services and support, empowered federal law enforcement to hold perpetrators accountable, and improved enforcement of protective orders across state lines. In March of this year, I was proud to sign the VAWA Reauthorization Act of 2022, which extends all current VAWA grant programs through 2027 and increases services and support for all survivors, including strengthening the access to services for underserved or marginalized survivors. communities. It also enhances evidence-based and trauma-informed training for law enforcement officers involved in victim assistance and investigation of these crimes.
While we know VAWA is making a significant difference, we also know there is still a lot of work to do. Millions of women and men are affected by one form or another of domestic violence every year. Domestic violence can cause injury, fear, post-traumatic stress disorder, home insecurity, absence from school or work, and other devastating consequences. Historically underserved populations, including LGBTQI+ survivors, people with disabilities, immigrants, racial and ethnic minorities, American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians face some of the highest rates domestic and sexual violence, as well as additional barriers to safety and support. The effects of this epidemic extend far beyond the home, affecting extended families, schools and the workplace.
Over the past three decades, I have continued this commitment to preventing and responding to domestic violence and all forms of gender-based violence. To strengthen our support for victims during the pandemic, when we saw an increase in domestic violence as survivors experienced increased isolation, economic insecurity, and barriers to accessing help, my administration increased funding shelters and support service providers and offered targeted resources to culturally-specific community organizations that meet the needs of survivors in marginalized communities. In total, we have invested nearly $1 billion in additional funding from our U.S. bailout to bolster these programs.
I also established the White House Gender Policy Council and called for the development of the first-ever government-wide national action plan to end gender-based violence, as well as updates to the United States strategy. 2016 United to Prevent and Respond to Gender-Based Violence. Global violence. These strategies will provide a roadmap to guide my administration’s whole-of-government efforts to end domestic violence, sexual assault, and other forms of gender-based violence.
My efforts did not stop there. Last year, I signed the National Defense Authorization Act to fundamentally change how the military investigates and prosecutes domestic violence, sexual assault, and related crimes. I also issued an executive order to implement important military code reforms. We owe it to those who bravely wear the uniform of our Nation to improve support for survivors and expand the prevention of all forms of gender-based violence.
In July, I signed the Safer Communities Act and provided significant resources to states to implement Extreme Risk Protection Order laws and also expanded measures to prevent convicted abusers from having assaulted their current or former romantic partners for buying or possessing firearms. Millions of women across America report being threatened with a gun by an intimate partner, and evidence suggests that when a gun is present, the risk of death from domestic violence is five times higher. Additionally, as cyberstalking, sextortion and other forms of intimate partner violence involving technology are increasingly common, we have created a new White House Task Force to address harassment and online abuse and stepped up our efforts to prevent and address such harm.
As we continue the essential work of ending domestic violence, we can all help build a culture where violence is not tolerated and where survivors are heard, supported and protected. We can express our gratitude to the remarkable individuals and organizations that provide essential care and services to victims of domestic violence, and we must remain committed to building a better world where all can feel safe and respected and live free. abuses.
NOW THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 2022 as National Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention Month. I call on all Americans to speak out against domestic violence and support efforts to educate everyone about respectful healthy relationships; support victims and survivors in your own families and networks; and support the efforts of victim advocates, service providers, health care providers and the legal system, as well as the leadership of survivors, to end domestic violence.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have signed this thirtieth day of September in the year of grace two thousand and twenty-two and of the independence of the United States of America on the two hundred and forty-seventh.
JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.