Violence Against Women Act: Overview, Legislation, and Federal Funding [May 26, 2015]   [open pdf - 500KB]

"The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) has been of ongoing interest to Congress since its enactment in 1994 (P.L. 103-322). The original act was intended to change attitudes toward domestic violence, foster awareness of domestic violence, improve services and provisions for victims, and revise the manner in which the criminal justice system responds to domestic violence and sex crimes. The legislation created new programs within the Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Health and Human Services (HHS) that aimed to reduce domestic violence and improve response to and recovery from domestic violence incidents. VAWA primarily addresses certain types of violent crime through grant programs to state, tribal, and local governments; nonprofit organizations; and universities. VAWA programs target the crimes of intimate partner violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. In 1995, the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) was created administratively within DOJ to administer federal grants authorized under VAWA. In 2002, Congress codified the OVW as a separate office within DOJ. Since its creation, the OVW has awarded more than $6 billion in grants. While the OVW administers the majority of VAWA authorized grants, other federal agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (in HHS) and the Office of Justice Programs (in DOJ), also manage VAWA grants."

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CRS Report for Congress, R42499
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