Office on Violence Against Women

The mission of the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), a component of the U.S. Department of Justice, is to provide federal leadership in developing the national capacity to reduce violence against women and administer justice for and strengthen services to victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

Through the administration of the Grants to Reduce Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence and Stalking on Campus and the Technical Assistance Programs, OVW supports the development of effective culturally-relevant campus-based programming that builds upon strong campus and community partnerships with the goals of strengthening services to victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking and promoting multifaceted prevention strategies within the campus community.

History of the Office on Violence Against Women

In 1994 Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in recognition of the severity of crimes associated with domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. This Act emerged from the efforts of a broad, grassroots coalition of advocates and survivors who informed the work of Congress. In the two decades prior to VAWA, a movement had grown within the United States to respond appropriately to violent crimes against women.  Rape crisis centers and women’s shelters were established in localities, and state and local laws had changed.  However, the progress had been uneven around the country.  VAWA was born out of the need for a national solution. This Act enhances the investigation and prosecution of violent crimes against women.

Created in 1995, OVW administers financial and technical assistance to communities across the country that are developing programs, policies, and practices aimed at ending domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

Since its inception, OVW has awarded over $6 billion in grants and cooperative agreements, and has launched a multifaceted approach to implementing VAWA. By forging state, local, and tribal partnerships among police, prosecutors, judges, victim advocates, health care providers, faith leaders, and others, OVW grant programs help provide victims with the protection and services they need to pursue safe and healthy lives, while simultaneously enabling communities to hold offenders accountable for their violence.

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