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Violence Against Women Act

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) of 1994 is considered a landmark piece of legislation because it was the first comprehensive federal legislation to specifically address violence against women and enact provisions to protect women from violence in the United States.

The legislation was the culmination of years of activism by women's groups and victims’ advocates to increase awareness about violence against women and, particularly, domestic violence. The bill was originally sponsored by Representative Pat Schroeder (D-CO) and Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE) and was signed into law by President William (Bill) Jefferson Clinton on September 13, 1994, as part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. Congress reauthorized VAWA in 2000 and 2005 and is expected to reauthorize VAWA again in 2011.

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