Actress Angelina Jolie attends an event with President Joe Biden celebrating the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) at the White House on March 15, 2022. Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI | License Photo
March 16 (UPI) -- U.S. President Joe Biden marked the the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act with a ceremony at the White House on Wednesday.
His signature means all current grant programs under the act will remain funded and in place until 2027, the White House said in a release.
The bipartisan legislation was passed by Congress as part of the omnibus appropriations package that Biden signed Tuesday.
"It took time to change the culture, and you did it. You did it," Biden said at the event in the East Room of the White House.
"The only way we can change the culture was by shining an ugly, bright light on it and speaking its name."
The legislation also increases services and support for survivors from underserved and marginalized communities, including for LGBTQ survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking.
"No one, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, should experience abuse. Period. And if they do they should have the service and support to get through it, and we're not going to rest," Biden said.
Actress Angelina Jolie was seen in the crowd as Biden signed the bill. The Oscar winner has long been a proponent of the legislation.
Biden spearheaded the act's creation while a U.S. senator. The legislation was first passed in 1994.
The law aims to improve prevention and response to sexual violence. That includes enacting the Fairness for Rape Kit Backlog Survivors Act. The act requires state victim compensation programs to allow sexual assault survivors to file for compensation without being unfairly penalized due to rape kit backlogs.
Earlier in March, the World Health Organization said one out of three women experience violence in their lifetime. That statistic has remained constant over the last decade.
President Joe Biden meets with researchers and patients to discuss ARPA-H, a new health research agency dealing with curing cancer and other health innovations in the South Court Auditorium at the White House on Friday. Photo by Chris Kleponis/UPI | License Photo