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Attorney General Merrick B. Garland Delivers Remarks at the Investiture of Director Rosie Hidalgo of the Office on Violence Against Women


Washington, DC
United States

Remarks as Delivered

Thank you, Allison, and in light of all those Easter eggs, I want to thank you for ushering OVW into its new Eras Tour.

It’s my great honor to welcome everyone to the investiture of Rosie Hidalgo as the Director of the Office on Violence Against Women.

As the first Senate-confirmed director of OVW in 11 years, and the first Latina to lead that office ever, Rosie is making and shaping history.

As director, Rosie leads OVW’s mission to provide federal leadership in developing our nation’s capacity to reduce violence against women. OVW’s important work also strengthens services for survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, and sexual assault.

Rosie arrives well prepared for this work. She has spent over 25 years as a champion for reducing gender-based violence and supporting survivors. Her experience includes serving as a public interest attorney, a national policy advocate, and on the White House Gender Policy Council.  

And like many of us in DOJ leadership, this is not her first rodeo. She previously served in the Justice Department as Deputy Director of Policy in OVW. 

Rosie’s experience comes from a deep dedication to affirming the dignity of survivors and protecting women and girls.  

Thank you, Rosie, for coming back and for rejoining the extraordinary professionals who make up the staff at OVW.

The mission of this Justice Department is to uphold the rule of law, to keep our country safe, and to protect civil rights.

For too long, women and girls have suffered due to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. As the Justice Department works urgently to reduce violent crime of all kinds, we recognize that addressing gender-based and domestic violence must be central to our work.

We must provide support to and gain the trust of survivors. And we must hold accountable those who perpetrate these crimes.

Each year, the dedicated staff of OVW administers more than 20 grant programs and $700 million in funding. These resources enable and empower victim services, criminal justice systems, and so many other critical programs.

OVW coordinates between federal, state, Tribal, and local authorities, and it provides assistance and expertise to law enforcement, medical professionals, and others who encounter victims of gender-based violence.  In doing so, OVW’s staff has built strong relationships with advocates and community leaders and has earned the trust of survivors and those who fight on their behalf.

OVW’s staff has also been tasked with helping to lead our country’s response to increases in domestic violence associated with the pandemic.

I am grateful to Allison for her incredible leadership of OVW. Thank you  for stepping up to lead the Office and for your continued contributions as a leader in the Department. And thank you for the Easter eggs.

Before I invite Rosie and her daughter to join me for her oath of office, I want to thank her family and friends who are here today and those who are watching on the livestream. Your encouragement and support help make Rosie’s service in this important role possible, and we are all grateful to you – especially me.   

I also want to recognize someone who is not here today.  Rosie, I understand that your late brother, Patrick, shared your commitment to public service.  Although I did not have the honor of knowing him, I know he would be so proud of you. His legacy lives on in the work you do and the people you help.

And now, Director Hidalgo, could you and your daughter Cristina please join me for your swearing in.

Updated August 15, 2023