Earlier this month, the Justice Department (DOJ) submitted its biennial Report to Congress on the Effectiveness of Grant Programs Under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Under the act, which was last reauthorized in 2013, DOJ’s Office of Violence Against Women awarded funding to more than 2,000 grant recipients and technical assistance providers between July 1, 2013 and June 30, 2015. However, while the numerical data is important, even more important are the stories from the individuals whose lives have been assisted by these funds, helping them respond to domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking.
The report includes numerous vignettes submitted by people whose lives have been saved by VAWA funds. It also shows how communities are using VAWA grants to ensure that the men and women who work inside and outside the justice system have the training they need to effectively administer justice and hold offenders accountable. For example, the Ada County Domestic Violence Court in Idaho stated that VAWA funding has given it the option to provide free counseling to families dealing with domestic violence, case management and free civil legal services to victims, and domestic violence treatment to offenders. “These wonderful services remove the financial burden on families to seek and obtain services that are life-changing and hopefully, reduce incidences of domestic violence in our community,” it added.
The report “documents two years’ worth of investments in solutions and accomplishments that would have been impossible without VAWA,” according to DOJ, which noted that much work remains to be done. The report includes numerous remaining areas of need for each of the grant programs under the act. Continued reauthorization of this act is critical for the people and communities it has served.
Let us know how you feel about grant programs under the Violence Against Women Act. We’d love to hear from you.