Vice President Joe Biden announced the appointment of Lynn Rosenthal as the first ever White House Advisor on Violence Against Women Friday. The Vice President said that he and the President were looking for someone with a passion for helping victims of domestic violence. In his remarks, he said that “the worst imprisonment in the whole world is to be imprisoned in your own home… the most vicious of all crimes are domestic crimes.”
Rosenthal has a strong record as a domestic violence advocate. According to a White House press release, she currently serves as the Executive Director for the New Mexico Coalition Against Domestic Violence. She is a previous Executive Director of the National Network to End Domestic Violence and of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence. In 2000 and 2005, Rosenthal also played a key advocacy role in the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.
As a Senator, Biden authored the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), first passed by Congress in 1994. VAWA provides federal funding and protections for the prevention of domestic violence and sexual assault and assistance to victims. The bill also includes critical provisions for improvements in law enforcement and judicial response to violence against women. First signed into law by President Clinton in 1994, women’s rights groups fought for and won reauthorization of the bill in 2000 and 2005. The Feminist Majority, led by Eleanor Smeal, played a major role in the passage of VAWA and its reauthorization.