Obama_Domestic_Violence_bidenWASHINGTON, Oct. 27 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama Wednesday announced a federal effort to curb domestic violence and help women who have been victims of abuse.

At an event highlighting Domestic Violence Awareness Month in the East Room of the White House, Obama praised Vice President Joe Biden for his efforts in the Senate to pass legislation that "transformed how we address these all-too-pervasive crimes" and for his efforts as vice president to pull together efforts across the federal bureaucracy.

"As you all know, domestic violence was for far too long seen as a lesser offense," Obama said, adding that too often it was treated as a private matter. "Victims were often just sent home from the hospital without intervention; children were left to suffer in silence. And as a consequence, abuse could go on for years. In many cases, this violence would only end with the death of a woman or a child."

Obama said efforts are under way to help victims "overcome the financial barriers they often face getting back on their feet."

Federal housing officials Wednesday released new rules to prevent victims from getting evicted or denied housing assistance and the Justice Department released new tools for judges, advocates and law enforcement to use "to help ensure that protective orders are issued and enforced."

"The bottom line is this: Nobody in America should live in fear because they are unsafe in their own home -- no adult, no child," Obama said. "And no one who is the victim of abuse should ever feel that they have no way to get out. We need to make sure every victim of domestic violence knows that they are not alone; that there are resources available to them in their moment of greatest need. And as a society, we need to ensure that if a victim of abuse reaches out for help, we are there to lend a hand.

"This is not just the job of government. It's a job for all of us."

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