National statistics show the number of violent crimes in America is declining, but the number of rapes and sexual assaults against women remains stable.
On Thursday, President Obama signed a law updating the "Violence Against Women Act." It funds training for police and judges and strengthens punishments for domestic violence, sexual, assault, and human trafficking.
The law also makes clear that lesbians, gays and immigrants should have equal access to the law's programs.
The president says the original law "changed our culture." Obama praised Vice President Joe Biden, who wrote the bill in 1994, for making violence prevention one of his top priorities.
Between 2005 and 2010 only 12 percent of rapes and sexual assaults resulted in arrest.
Most crimes of sexual violence are committed by a person the victim knows.
The renewal authorizes some $659 million a year over five years to be allocated for grants that fund transitional housing, legal assistance, law enforcement training and hotlines.