PROCLAMATION: National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, 2000 (10/2/00)
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release                          October 2, 2000


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                                 A PROCLAMATION

     Domestic violence transcends all ethnic, racial, and socioeconomic
boundaries.  Its perpetrators abuse their victims both physically and
mentally, and the effects of their attacks are far-reaching -- weakening
the very core of our communities.  Domestic violence is particularly
devastating because it so often occurs in the privacy of the home, which is
meant to be a place of shelter and security.  During the month of October,
all Americans should contemplate the scars that domestic violence leaves on
our society and what each of us can do to prevent it.

     Because domestic violence usually takes place in private, many
Americans may not realize how widespread it is.  According to the National
Violence Against Women Survey, conducted jointly by the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention and the National Institute of Justice, each year in
the United States approximately 1.5 million women are raped and/or
physically assaulted by their current or former husbands, partners, or
boyfriends.  Many of these women are victimized more than once over the
course of a year.  As unsettling as these statistics are, it is also
disturbing to realize that the children of battered women frequently
witness these attacks, thus becoming victims themselves.

     My Administration has worked hard to reduce domestic violence in our
Nation and to assist victims and their families.  The cornerstone of our
efforts has been the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which the Congress
passed with bipartisan support in 1994 and which I signed into law as part
of our comprehensive crime control bill.  This important piece of
legislation, which contains a broad array of ground-
breaking measures to combat violence against women, combines
tough penalties with programs to prosecute offenders and provide assistance
to women who are survivors of violence.

     In the 6 years since I signed VAWA into law, the legislation has
provided more than $1.6 billion to support prosecutors, law enforcement
officials, courts, victim advocates, and intervention efforts.  We have
quadrupled funding for battered women's shelters, created the National
Domestic Violence Hotline, and supported community outreach and prevention
programs, children's counseling, and child protection services.  The
Department of Justice has awarded more than 900 discretionary grants and
280 STOP (Services, Training, Officers, Prosecutors) Violence Against Women
formula grants to help State, tribal, and local governments and
community-based organizations establish specialized domestic violence and
sexual assault units, train personnel, enforce laws, develop policies,
assist victims of violence, and hold abusers accountable.

     These VAWA programs are making a difference across the country.  A
recent report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics shows that the number of
women experiencing violence at the hands of an intimate partner declined 21
percent from 1993 to 1998.  I call on the Congress to reauthorize and
strengthen VAWA so that we may continue to build on the progress we have
made in combating domestic violence in our Nation.

     Through VAWA and other initiatives and programs, we are striving to
create a responsive legal system in American communities that not only
prevents domestic violence and sexual assault, but also ensures that every
victim has immediate access to helpful information and emergency
assistance.  By taking strong public action against this crime, we are
creating a society that promotes strong values, fosters a safe, loving home
environment for every family, and refuses to tolerate domestic violence in
any form.

     NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, 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 2000 as National
Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  I call upon government officials, law
enforcement agencies, health professionals, educators, community leaders,
and the American people to join together to end the domestic violence that
threatens so many of our people.

     IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this
twenty-ninth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand, and of
the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and

                                   WILLIAM J. CLINTON

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