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In commemoration of the 29th anniversary of the original enactment of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), the Justice Department announced Wednesday $192,819,214 in formula and discretionary grant awards to support crucial services and justice responses for survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Congress appropriated approximately $700 million for the implementation of VAWA in Fiscal Year 2023, and additional grant awards will be announced in the coming weeks. The Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), created under VAWA, has administered over $9.5 billion in grant funds since its inception, supporting communities in implementing effective strategies that prevent and respond to these crimes.
“We must confront the continued prevalence of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking in our country,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “Today the Justice Department is marking nearly three decades of the Violence Against Women Act by awarding $192.8 million in resources that will go directly to making our communities safer by supporting and gaining the trust of survivors and holding accountable those who have harmed them.”
The Department awarded a total of $172,932,681 across all 50 states and six territories under the STOP (Services, Training, Officers, and Prosecutors) Violence Against Women Formula Grants Program, one of VAWA’s inaugural grant programs. The grant is designed to promote a coordinated community response among law enforcement, prosecution, courts, victim services organizations, and other community services to ensure the safety of survivors.
“I was privileged to work on the original passage of VAWA and took to heart the government’s paramount obligation to protect its citizens,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco. “For nearly 30 years, VAWA has afforded rights and safeguards to survivors of sexual violence while ensuring the criminal justice system holds their perpetrators to account. The Justice Department has furthered its promise by awarding nearly $10 billion in funding – including the newest grants announced today – to communities across the country to respond to gender-based violence.”
“Everyone has the right to live without the threat of gender-based violence, and with VAWA’s expansion and 2022 reauthorization, we are improving victim services and reaching more survivors, including survivors in marginalized communities, LGBTQI+ survivors, older adults, and those with disabilities,” said Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta. “This is an important step toward our goal of bringing these crimes to an end, once and for all.”
“Prior to the enactment of VAWA, survivors were primarily left to fend for themselves, often cycling in and out of dangerous environments with little help from legal systems or service providers,” said OVW Director Rosie Hidalgo. “VAWA has changed this landscape by supporting a coordinated community response to address domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking in a more comprehensive manner. It emphasizes survivor-centered, trauma-informed, and community-based approaches and ensures that services are available across every state and territory. Last year’s reauthorization, as well as strong congressional and Administration support, has bolstered the Office on Violence Against Women’s efforts to provide increased funding to local communities nationwide, strengthening partnerships to support innovative programs and increase pathways to safety, justice, and healing.”
Additional awards announced today include:
- Grants for Training and Services to End Violence Against Individuals with Disabilities and Deaf People Program (Disability Grant Program): Fourteen grants totaling $8,339,438 will support services for individuals with disabilities and Deaf individuals. This includes but is not limited to: providing specialized training, outreach, cross-training for various agencies, and developing model programs to strengthen organizational capacities in assisting survivors.
- Grants for Outreach and Services to Underserved Populations: Seventeen grants totaling $10,066,724 will support services that enhance population-specific victim services, outreach strategies, and organizational capacities and provide training for criminal and civil justice systems to address the specific needs of underserved populations.
- Enhanced Training and Services to End Abuse in Later Life Program (Abuse in Later Life Program): Three grants totaling $1,480,371 will support projects that provide training to criminal justice professionals to enhance their ability to address elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation. These grants also offer cross-training opportunities to professionals working with older victims, establish or strengthen a coordinated community response to elder abuse, and enhance services for victims who are 50 years of age or older.
Organizations interested in applying for these and other grants are encouraged to visit the OVW website for more details and application guidelines.