The White House has launched a first-of-its-kind national action plan to end gender-based violence, such as domestic abuse, sexual assault, stalking and dating violence.
The U.S. National Plan to End Gender-Based Violence, released Thursday, includes seven pillars under which the Biden administration aims to focus its efforts, including providing support for survivors of gender-based violence, addressing online harassment and abuse, and conducting more robust research as well as collecting additional data on gender-based violence.
Within each pillar, there are overarching goals and objectives for the administration to work toward in its effort to prevent this type of violence nationally and abroad.
"Our hope is that the Plan will also be useful to local and state governments as well as community organizations across the U.S. to guide and support their efforts to end gender-based violence," Jennifer Klein, assistant to the president and director of the White House Gender Policy Council, said Thursday.
"President Biden has advanced our nation's commitment to preventing and ending domestic violence, sexual assault, and other forms of gender-based violence throughout his life in public service and as the original author and champion of the landmark Violence Against Women Act," Klein said. "This National Plan builds on that legacy by advancing a whole of government approach to expanding access to safety, support, healing, and justice for survivors."
In 2021, President Joe Biden signed an executive order to establish the White House Gender Policy Council, and he called on the council to develop a national strategy on gender equity and equality, including the commitment to ending gender-based violence both domestically and globally.
Separately, last year, the Violence Against Women Act – aimed at protecting and supporting survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking – was renewed, marking a years-long effort to modernize the landmark legislation after it expired in 2018. Biden helped write the original piece of legislation that was enacted in 1994 when he was a senator from Delaware.
'A public safety and a public health crisis'
About 80 countries around the world have national action plans and the United Nations considers it a "promising practice" in the global commitment to end gender-based violence, a senior administration official said.
It's estimated that about 1 in 3 women worldwide have been subjected to either physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, according to the World Health Organization.
"We are excited for the first time to be able to share the US plan, both domestically but also share it globally with other countries around the world," the senior administration official said. "Gender-based violence is a public safety and a public health crisis here and around the world, experienced by individuals of all backgrounds."
The National Network to End Domestic Violence praised the launch of the White House's national action plan in a news release Thursday, calling it "groundbreaking" and saying that it is "being launched at a time when survivors' needs are at an all-time high and are outpacing the capacity of domestic violence shelters."
In the United States, the National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
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