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Vice President Biden to commemorate 20th anniversary of VAWA

President Barack Obama signs S.47, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013, at the Sidney R. Yates Auditorium at the U.S. Department of Interior in Washington, D.C., March 7, 2013. Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy

Vice President Joe Biden will mark the 20th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., tomorrow.

As a member of the Senate, Biden authored the original version of VAWA in 1990 and the bill became law in 1994. He led the reauthorization of the law in 2000 and 2005, when tribal specific measures were slowly added to address high rates of crime against American Indian and Alaska Native women.

The efforts led to the inclusion of landmark tribal jurisdiction provisions in S.47, a reauthorization that became law in 2013. Tribes are able to exercise authority over non-Indian offenders in certain domestic violence cases and if their court systems meet certain conditions.

"Today, it's hard for many people to fathom a day in which Americans ignored this violence, or worse, condoned it. But it's true," Biden said in an opinion published in The Wilmington News Journal on Saturday. "And it was against that backdrop I introduced the Violence Against Women (VAWA) in 1990, the first federal law that directly held violence against women as a violation of basic civil rights and fundamental human dignity."

Tribal leaders will be joining Biden at tomorrow's event, the White House said. Audio will be broadcast at 2pm Eastern time at

Related Stories:
Opinion: Tribes need greater control of justice on reservations (08/18)
Tanya Lee: Violence against Native women a national disgrace (07/30)
Al Jazeera: Advocates seek inclusion of Alaska tribes in VAWA (07/21)
Tulalip Tribes prosecutor gets expanded authority under VAWA (07/15)
Opinion: Include Alaska in tribal jurisdiction provisions of VAWA (07/07)
Opinion: Alaska already recognizes tribal court protection orders (06/30)
Mary Hudetz: Slow moving justice for women in Indian Country (06/16)
DOJ supports bill to include Alaska tribes in VAWA jurisdiction (06/12)
Blog: Tribal jurisdiction provisions in VAWA face legal scrutiny (05/28)
Al Jazeera: Pascua Yaqui Tribe looks for justice under VAWA (04/24)
Pascua Yaqui Tribe faces a test of jurisdiction under VAWA (04/21)

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