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Biden: Domestic violence 'the single most important cause of my life'

Vice President Biden on Wednesday said his work on domestic violence has been "the single most important cause of my life."

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Speaking at a benefit for the DC Volunteer Lawyers Project, which offers free legal services to low-income D.C. residents in family law cases, Biden described his initial push for the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in the early 90s, when “nobody thought very much of it.”

VAWA was not only meant to address domestic violence, he said, but also to bring about a cultural change about how women should be treated.

Biden said the reason it's so hard for abused women to leave home and get help is because of the shame they feel. "They don't want to get raped again by the system," he said, according to a White House pool reporter.

Biden authored the original legislation in 1994. President Obama signed a bipartisan bill earlier this year to reauthorize VAWA, ending a yearlong effort to renew legislation that provides federal funding for programs aiding the prosecutions of domestic and sexual violence cases.

The legislation includes new measures intended to help prosecutions on Native American reservations of non-native perpetrators of violence and grants for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered men and women. The bill also includes new funding to reduce the backlog of DNA tests in rape cases and improve police facility storage across the country.

Biden’s daughter-in-law, Kathleen Biden, a co-chair of DC Volunteer Lawyers Project, said VAWA was one of her father-in-law’s “proudest moments.”

"When that bill passed, my mother-in-law ... made posters and hung them from the trees in the front yard so pop could see them when he came home," she said. "I am proud to tell pop we are taking his work and putting it into action."