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Joe Torre goes to bat with Obama against domestic violence

By Tom Cohen, CNN
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Obama: 'Nobody should live in fear'
  • Baseball great Joe Torre tells White House event about his abusive father
  • New initiatives seek to reduce violence and help victims
  • One in four American women experiences domestic violence in her life

Washington (CNN) -- President Barack Obama got help from baseball great Joe Torre at a White House event Wednesday highlighting new steps the government is taking to reduce domestic violence.

Torre told the East Room audience about domestic abuse in his childhood home, where he said his father beat his mother. He pledged to help in any way he could to better protect the nation's children, whom he called "our treasure."

"Awareness is probably the biggest deterrent to domestic violence and abuse that goes on," said Torre, who with his wife started the Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation to raise awareness about domestic violence. "What better place than the White House to raise awareness?"

The new initiatives announced Wednesday include creation of a national advisory committee on violence against women that will work with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and others to come up with best solutions for reducing domestic violence and helping the victims.

Obama noted 25 percent of women in America experience domestic violence at some point in their lives. He described new initiatives that focus on protecting children, improving legal protection for victims, increasing arrests and successful prosecutions of sexual assault cases and helping victims attain financial independence.

"Nobody in America should live in fear because they are unsafe in their own home. No adult. No child," Obama said, adding that one goal is to make sure "no one has to choose between a violent home and no home at all."

A background document provided by the White House said Obama "has called on every agency in the federal government to be part of the solution to ending violence against women."