Federal Legislation on Domestic Violence

There is a surprising amount of legislation in place protecting women and other victims from domestic violence. There are state mandatory reporting laws for domestic violence, which I wasn’t aware of, very similar to the mandatory reporting laws for child abuse. Read the following pdf file about these laws: mandatory.reporting (pdf file). project-connect

Project Connect is a national initiative through the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services to change how tween and teen health, female reproductive health, and Native health services respond to sexual and domestic violence. Project Connect can

help improve maternal and adolescent health and decrease the risks for unplanned pregnancy, poor pregnancy outcomes, and further abuse

There are several landmark cases that have been decided under these new interstate provisions. For example, in United States v. Rita Gluzman (NY), the defendant traveled from New Jersey to New York with the intention of killing her estranged husband. The weapons she took with her were used in the murder. Gluzman was convicted for this crime. In United States v. Mark A. Sterkel (1997), the defendant was convicted of interstate stalking after traveling from Utah to Arizona to threaten his former boss.

Office on Violence Against Women, a division of the United States Department of Justice, seeks to, through federal leadership, reduce violence against women and administer justice for the crimes committed in victims, as well as to ensure there are services and resources available to victims of not just domestic violence but also of dating violence, sexual assault and stalking.

Congress has passed two main federal laws on domestic violence. The first is Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), under which a domestic violence misdemeanor is one in which someone is convicted for a crime “committed by an intimate partner, parent, or guardian of the victim that required the use or attempted use of physical force or the threatened use of a deadly weapon” (Section 922 (g)[9]). Under these guidelines, an intimate partner is a spouse, a former spouse, a person who shares a child in common with the victim, or a person who cohabits or has cohabited with the victim. VAWA originally allowed victims of domestic abuse to sue for damages in civil court. However, this part of the VAWA was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in Brzonkala v. Morrison (2000), wherein the court held that Congress did not have the authority to implement such a law. The Violence Against Women Act states:

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was the first major law to help government agencies and victim advocates work together to fight domestic violence, sexual assault, and other types of violence against women. It created new punishments for certain crimes and started programs to prevent violence and help victims. Over the years, the law has been expanded to provide more programs and services. Currently, some included items are:

  • Violence prevention programs in communities
  • Protections for victims who are evicted from their homes because of events related to domestic violence or stalking
  • Funding for victim assistance services like rape crisis centers and hotlines
  • Programs to meet the needs of immigrant women and women of different races or ethnicities
  • Programs and services for victims with disabilities
  • Legal aid for survivors of violence
  • Services for children and teens

The National Advisory Committee on Violence Against Women works to help promote the goals and vision of VAWA. The committee is a joint effort between the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Examples of the committee’s efforts include the Community Checklist initiative to make sure each community has domestic violence programs and the Toolkit to End Violence Against Women, which has chapters for specific audiences

The Family Violence Prevention and Services Act:

provides the main federal funding to help victims of domestic violence and their dependents (such as children). Programs funded through FVPSA provide shelter and related help. They also offer violence prevention activities and try to improve how service agencies work together in communities

Click here for more laws and legislation for domestic violence.

As always, you can reach me anytime at emotionalabusehurts@cybergal.com. Thank you for reading!

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Grant Programs for Victims of Domestic Violence

The United States Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women offers a grant program to assist domestic violence survivors in getting financial help, making escape more realistic, and a real possibility, for all victims. The Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) currently administers 24 grant programs authorized by the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) of 1994. More information about The Violence Against Women Act of 1994 can be found here. The grant program:

….is awarded to states and territories, enhances the capacity of local communities to develop and strengthen effective law enforcement and prosecution strategies to combat violent crimes against women and to develop and strengthen victim services in cases involving violent crimes against women.

Four of the twenty four programs were created with very specific and firm rules on how the funds are to be distributed. The four formula programs are Stop Violence Against Women Formula Grant Program, Sexual Assault Services Formula Grant Program, State and Territorial Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Coalitions Program, and Grants to Tribal Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Coalitions Program. Here’s what OVW states on their website in regard to the grant programs: Continue reading “Grant Programs for Victims of Domestic Violence”