THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Vice President
VICE PRESIDENT GORE ANNOUNCES NEW POLICY TO ALLOW VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE TO CHANGE THEIR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER
Washington, DC -- Vice President Gore announced today a new effort to help victims of domestic violence escape their abusers -- a federal policy that will make it easier for victims to change their social security numbers.
"Today, our message to the victims of these hateful crimes is this: we will offer you the protection you need to regain your safety and rebuild your life," Vice President Gore said. "You have suffered enough without having to fight for the protections you need to start a new life for yourself and your children."
For the first time, victims of domestic violence will be able to get a new Social Security number simply by providing written affirmation of their domestic abuse from a third party, such as a local shelter, treating physician, or law enforcement official.
The Social Security Administration's (SSA) employees in field offices nationwide will work closely with local domestic violence shelters, the police, the courts, treating physicians, medical facilities, and psychologists to help victims of domestic violence get the documentation necessary to secure a new Social Security number.
Previously, the SSA required victims to provide proof that their abuser had misused their Social Security number. For victims of domestic violence, providing this kind of proof was extremely difficult -- only victims who were severely abused or who were in danger of losing their lives were allowed to change their Social Security number.
To improve its services to victims of domestic violence, the SSA will post on its website the steps a victim needs to take to change their social security number and provide important referral information.
The Vice President also announced a Presidential directive for the Office of Personnel Management to prepare a resource guide that will: (1) assist victims of domestic violence by providing up-to-date information about available resources and outline strategies to ensure safety; and (2) help those who know anyone who is being abused to prevent and respond to the situation. This guide will list private as well as public resources such as counseling, law enforcement, federal workplace leave policies, and substance abuse programs.
In addition, he highlighted a new booklet, "Protecting Victims of Domestic Violence: A Law Enforcement Officer's Guide to Enforcing Orders of Protection Nationwide," that outlines the meaning of the Violence Against Women Act's requirement to give full, faith and credit orders of protection for victims of domestic violence. This booklet was written by the International Association of Chiefs of Police with a grant from the Justice Department. It will be disseminated to law enforcement officers nationwide to teach them how to enforce protection orders.
A fact sheet is attached.
| | | President Clinton and Vice President Gore: | | Fighting to End Domestic Violence | | |
"I call on American men and women in families to give greater respect to one another. We must end the deadly scourge of domestic violence in our country." -- President Clinton, State of the Union Address, 1996
| | | Domestic Violence - A National Problem | | |
| In 1996, approximately 840,000 women were victimized by violence | | perpetrated by an intimate. [Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1998] | | | | About 30% of female murder victims are killed by current or former |
| partners. [Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1998] | | | | Companies lose 1,751,100 days a year due to violence in the |
| workplace -- 10% of that absenteeism, or 175,000 days is due to | | domestic violence. [Workplace Violence - Department of Justice, |
| 1994] | | | | From 1987 to 1992, workers were the victims of nearly a million | | crimes a year, on average, at a variety of public and private | | workplaces. And when the victim was a woman, she was much more | | likely than a man to know the attacker. [Justice Department, | | 3/10/96] | | | |----------------------------------------------------------------------| | | | | | |
The Clinton Administration has taken strong steps to fight domestic violence. The President fought for and signed the Violence Against Women Act, as part of the 1994 Crime Act. For the first time, the federal government adopted a comprehensive approach to fighting domestic violence and violence against women, combining tough new penalties with the programs to prosecute offenders and help women victims of violence. The passage of the Violence Against Women Act was a crucial turning point in our national effort to break the cycle of domestic violence.
The Act forged a new strategy to fight domestic violence:
Provided $1.6 billion over five years to hire more prosecutors and improve domestic violence training among prosecutors, police officers, and health and social services professionals.
Provided for more shelters, counseling services, and research into effective public education campaigns.
Made interstate domestic violence and harassment a federal offense.
Outlawed the possession of firearms by those who are subject to a restraining order.
Required states to honor protective orders issued in other states and gave victims the right to mandatory restitution and the right to address the court at the time of sentencing.
The Violence Against Women Act is the cornerstone to the President's efforts to fight domestic violence. The Administration continues to build on this achievement in order to work to prevent and eliminate domestic violence.
Working to Combat Violence
Extended the Brady Bill to deny handguns to anyone convicted of family violence. Under the law, anyone who commits an act of family violence against a spouse or child would be prohibited from having a gun. The law also adds domestic violence convictions to the "Brady Checklist" sent to local law enforcement for a background check prior to each handgun sale from a federally licensed firearms dealer.
Bolstered local law enforcement, prosecution and victims' services to better address violence against women through $411.5 million in state grants. Since October 1995, the Administration has awarded more than $411.5 million in S*T*O*P Violence Against Women Grants to states to encourage cooperation and coordination that allow the criminal justice system to respond more effectively to domestic and sexual violence.
Signed the Interstate Stalking Punishment and Prevention Act of 1996, which makes it a federal crime to cross state lines intending to injure or harass another person.
Working with local prosecutors to stop domestic violence. The Department of Justice awarded states $106 million to encourage policies of arrest of domestic violence offenders at the local level. Since FY 1996, another $6 million has been disbursed under the National Stalker and Domestic Violence Reduction Program to improve the collection, handling, and accessibility of crime data.
Helping Provide Resources to Victims of Violence
Created the Violence Against Women Office. In March of 1995, President Clinton named Bonnie Campbell, former Attorney General of Iowa, to be Director of the Violence Against Women Office at the Department of Justice. In making the announcement, the President noted "for the first time in history, the federal government becomes a full time partner in the fight to curb violence against women." The Department's Violence Against Women Office leads the comprehensive national effort to combine tough new federal laws with assistance to states and localities to fight domestic violence and other crimes against women. It is a national resource for all those involved in this national problem.
Established nationwide 24-hour domestic violence hotline providing immediate crisis intervention, counseling and local shelter referral to victims across the country. The hotline has received over 225,000 calls from all over the country, since it was launched by President Clinton on February 21, 1996.
More than quadrupled funding for battered women's shelters. In 1993, the federal government spent $20 million on battered women's shelters. In FY 1999, the Clinton Administration allocated $88.6 million. And it has spent even more on related services, such as community outreach and prevention, children's counseling, and linkage to child protection services. Overall, the Clinton Administration has granted states, territories, and Indian tribes over $200 million to support the system of 1,400 emergency shelters, safe homes, and related services nationwide.
Compensating victims of violence. Through the Department of Justice's Office for Victims of Crime, the Administration awarded $343 million in FY 1998 to help compensate crime victims, including domestic violence survivors, for their losses; provide victims with emergency shelter, food and medical care; and improve, through police-and court-training, how the criminal justice system handles their cases.
Helping victims gain access to the legal system. On June 20, 1996, President Clinton announced $46 million in grants to localities to utilize community policing to combat domestic violence. The Justice Department's Office of Community-Oriented Policing Services has funded grants to over 300 jurisdictions for innovative community policing strategies aimed at curbing domestic violence. In addition, the Justice Department has encouraged mandatory arrests policies for the primary aggressor in domestic violence cases by awarding grants to 122 communities which are pursuing this strategy to combat violence.
Strengthening the health care system's ability to screen, treat, and prevent family and intimate violence. The Clinton Administration is helping to train those in the medical profession to identify and deal with the problem of battered women. These efforts include development of a framework for evaluating health care provider training programs; surveying all medical schools to determine the extent to which students are being prepared to deal effectively with issues of family and intimate violence; and working with national nursing organizations to begin collaborations and the development of a national nursing strategy on dealing with domestic violence.
Leading a National Effort to Raise Awareness of Domestic Violence
The Advisory Council on Violence Against Women. President Clinton created the Advisory Council Against Women on July 13, 1995. Co-chaired by Attorney General Janet Reno and Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala, the Council consists of 47 experts -- representatives from law enforcement, media, business, sports, health and social services, and victim advocacy -- working together to prevent violence against women and raise awareness of this pressing problem.
Raising Awareness in the federal workplace. President Clinton signed an executive memorandum on October 2, 1995, requiring all federal departments to begin employee awareness efforts on domestic violence. The Justice Department has distributed more than 90,000 copies of a domestic violence awareness booklet entitled "Stop the Cycle of Violence." In addition, Secretary Shalala distributed workplace violence guidelines for employees of the Department of Health and Human Services with a special section addressing domestic violence. These guidelines both help create and support a work environment in which potentially violent situations in HHS are prevented and effectively addressed and increase employee understanding of the nature of workplace violence. The Office of Personnel Management produced two publications, distributed government wide: "Dealing with Workplace Violence: A Guide for Agency Planners" (published in February 1998) and "A Manager's Handbook: Handling Traumatic Events" (published in December 1996). Both publications include guidance for agencies in handling domestic violence that spills over into the workplace.