The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

What is VAWA?

The Violence Against Women Act is federal law that provides for the investigation and prosecution of violent crimes against women, imposed automatic and mandatory restitution on those convicted, and allowed civil redress in cases prosecutors chose to leave un-prosecuted. 

VAWA emphases a coordinated community response to domestic violence, sex dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking as well as the courts, law enforcement, prosecutors, victim services, and the private bar working together in a coordinated effort.  

The Violence Against Women laws provided programs and services, including:

  • Federal Rape Shield Law
  • Community violence prevention programs
  • 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 domestic violence