The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was first passed with bipartisan support in 1994. This legislation is designed to prevent sexual and domestic violence, protect the rights of survivors and their children, and hold perpetrators accountable. VAWA supports survivors’ rights and funds programs for the prevention of domestic violence, sexual assault, elder abuse, and human trafficking. VAWA benefits both men and women who are victims of intimate partner violence and sexual assault. In 2005, Congress added Family Justice Centers to VAWA and provided funding for multi-agency approaches to help victims and their children. VAWA also provides crucial funds to train police officers, prosecutors, advocates, and other professionals across the United States.
Funding for the Violence Against Women Act must be authorized by Congress every year and supported by the President of the United States.
VAWA requires a coordinated community response (CCR) to domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking, encouraging jurisdictions to bring together players from diverse backgrounds to share information and use their distinct roles to improve community responses to violence against women. These players include victim advocates, police officers, prosecutors, judges, probation and corrections officials, health care professionals, leaders within faith communities, and survivors of violence against women.
VAWA funds are administered by the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), a component of the Department of Justice created specifically to implement VAWA 1994 and subsequent legislation. OVW administers financial and technical assistance to communities around the country to facilitate the creation of programs, policies, and practices aimed at ending domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Legislation passed in 2002 made OVW a permanent part of the Department of Justice with a Presidentially-appointed, Senate-confirmed Director.
Click here to look up members of Congress and urge them to support the Violence Against Women Act and continued funding that ensures the effectiveness of this lifesaving federal law. To call members of the U.S. Senate directly, click here. To call members of Congress directly, click here. To contact the Main Switchboard at the U.S. Capitol, call 202-224-3121.