Angelina Jolie lauds the passage of Violence Against Women Act and says that "We need more."

Jolie fought for years for the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCAV) and other groups to renew and strengthen survivors' protections.

Angelina Jolie lauds the passage of Violence Against Women Act and says that "We need more."

Angelina Jolie, actress and UN special envoy to refugees, told NBC News that the new Violence Against Women Act just became law was "a long-awaited" and "personal."

Jolie, who has advocated for a revamped law for many years, said that "it is personal to everybody." "Everyone who cares for their family, every one who cares for their children, and everyone who cares deeply about the safety and health of their community.

She said, "I think this country doesn’t recognize how serious domestic violence is and child abuse it really has."

The Violence Against Women Act, a 1994 landmark law, created grant programs to allow states to provide housing and services to victims of domestic violence and training to improve their legal system's response. It was renewed three more times after its passage, each with stronger protections to victims. The program ended in 2018 . However, Congress continued to fund its programs throughout its existence.


Last Thursday, the Senate renewed the act as part of its huge $1.5 Trillion spending bill. This prevented a shutdown of government, renewed funding for Pell Grants, and provided billions in emergency assistance to Ukraine .

President Joe Biden pledged during his campaign that he would enact the reauthorized bills within the first 100 days of his presidency. The House approved a version last year. Even though the deadline was missed by the administration, Biden signed it Tuesday. Jolie and other advocates attended Wednesday's event to commemorate its passage. This is almost a decade since its last reauthorization.

Jolie, a long-standing human rights activist, campaigned for the law's passage and strengthened its provisions. She even appeared with Senators to push for the bill's passage last year. Jolie gained valuable experience from the family court system through her own divorce and custody battles with Brad Pitt.

Kayden's Law is an amendment to the amended act. It was named after a seven year-old girl from Pennsylvania who was killed in a suicide attack by her father during unsupervised visits in 2018. Kayden's mother Kathy Sherlock championed her law. It focuses on how custody cases involving abuse allegations are handled by family courts. This includes improving training for judges hearing custody disputes, outlining the required qualifications for expert testimony about abuse and asking states to amend their statutes to restrict therapies that focus on forced family reunion.

Jolie stated, "I believe once you're subject to this system, regardless of who you are, and you realize how unbelievably flawed it is, then you must do something about it."

She said, "My priority right now is my children's health." "And my focus over the past few years has been on my family and... to work on changing laws to protect other families, and to focus on their stories."

The Violence Against Women Act also contains new provisions that increase culturally-specific services. This includes the creation of the first grant programdedicated for LGBTQ survivors. It also improves forensic evidence collection to detect bruising and other injuries in people with darker skin tones.

The new VAWA version will be effective in the second half of this year. It was praised by Senator Dick Durbin, D.Ill. as a "momentous accomplishment" for survivors of domestic or sexual violence. The VAWA programs, which are administered by the Department of Justice and Health and Human Services, will distribute new grants and funding. Durbin stated, "We are building a world and a legal system that puts survivors first."

Ruth Glenn, President and CEO of The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence said that many survivors who have not had their needs met previously will now be addressed. But there's more to do. "This is still an urgent public health problem, especially when it comes to domestic violence and child abuse."

Jolie doesn't think the fight ends with this bill. Jolie's activism also focuses on displaced families all over the globe, from Ukraine to Yemen where she was on an aid trip 10 days ago.

"The sad fact is that we see many conflicts," she stated. She referred to the eight-year-old civil war in Yemen, war in Ukraine and the 11th anniversary the Syrian civil war. She urged the public not to lose sight of refugees, even if conflicts are no longer in the news.

Jolie stated that "we really need to do more in the bigger picture." It all ties together if all people are equal and all people are deserving rights.


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