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Share Your Ideas with OVW: Participate in a VAWA Conferral Session

September 6, 2013

The Office on Violence Against Women is beginning its first-ever biennial conferral with stakeholders, and we want you to be part of it. We have two updates since our last notice:

  1. Due to popular demand, we have scheduled a second date for the Vulnerable Populations and Victims Facing Barriers to Accessing Services or Justice conferral.  You don’t need to sign up for both – they will be the same.  This conferral will be held on December 12 – details below.

  2. The date for the LGBT Issues conferral has been moved to November 6th.  An update was sent to invited participants.

Don’t forget to register for a conferral session if you would like to participate.  The first two conferrals are coming up this week – Tuesday the 24th and Wednesday the 25th – and will focus on STOP and SASP grants.  You can register at

Here is all the information you need to participate:

The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 establishes a conferral process to ensure OVW is informed by State and tribal coalitions, OVW technical assistance providers, and other key stakeholders in the field. This message constitutes initiation of the first conferral process.

The areas of conferral include:

  • the administration of grants;
  • unmet needs;
  • promising practices in the field; and
  • emerging trends.

Not later than 90 days after the conclusion of the conferral period, OVW will publish a report that summarizes the issues presented during conferral and what policies we intend to implement to address those issues.

OVW’s 2013/2014 conferral process will be very broad because it is the first-ever conferral. In the future, OVW may select specific discretionary grant programs for discussion or focus on the four statutory conferral areas.

Due to sequestration and a strong emphasis on limiting conferences and travel expenditures, OVW will host the conferrals online through a webinar and/or conference call process. To save money while maximizing input from key stakeholders, OVW will also convene in-person conferral sessions at preexisting meetings.

To gather feedback from a wide range of key stakeholders, OVW will host a mix of invitation-only meetings and webinars/calls, meetings where attendees representing particular sectors are recruited through various methods, and meetings open to the general public.

OVW must confer with state and tribal coalitions and technical assistance providers, as well as other key stakeholders. Thus, the conferral process will emphasize feedback from these coalitions and TA providers, as well as crucial stakeholders such as STOP and SASP Administrators and grantees of other OVW programs. Tribal governments also have an annual consultation with OVW and provide input on VAWA programs.

Each conferral session – both in-person and virtual – will request feedback on the four statutory topics (administration of grants, unmet needs, promising practices in the field, and emerging trends), as well as any other issues raised by participating individuals. The conferral sessions will be structured as listening sessions, although OVW staff may answer questions if answers can be quickly and readily provided.

The conferral sessions will primarily occur during the fall and early winter, though some in-person sessions may be in the spring to utilize preexisting meetings. See below for planned dates of webinars/calls that are open to the public.

Individuals may register to attend as many open webinars/calls as they like. To maximize the number of people who are able to speak during the sessions, commenters will generally be limited to three minutes, after which their lines will be muted. If the comment is obscene or hateful, OVW may mute the line sooner. If you don’t get the chance to speak or still have more to say, don’t worry – you can submit brief written comments. (See below for details about written comments.)

All the open conferral listening sessions are for anyone with an interest – not just OVW grantees. Survivors, service providers who are not OVW grant recipients and other individuals who wish to comment are welcome to join. However, several sensitive issues will have a more limited participation in order to create a safe, productive space for conversation.

Conferral sessions will be at 5pm Eastern time to enable participation from all states and territories. Each webinar/call will be one hour long. Webinars will be closed-captioned and participants will be able to type comments and questions. Dates are subject to change. OVW will provide notice of any changes.

Conferral Sessions Open to the Public:

  1. STOP Formula Grants to States
    September 24, 2013 at 5pm EDT
  2. SASP Formula Grants to States and Sexual Assault Issues Generally
    September 25, 2013 at 5pm EDT
  3. Services and Access to Justice for Male Victims
    October 1, 2013 at 5pm EDT
  4. Vulnerable Populations and Victims Facing Barriers to Accessing Services or Justice (first session)
    November 7, 2013 at 5pm EST
  5. Technical Assistance: Needs in the Field
    December 11, 2013 at 5pm EST
  6. Vulnerable Populations and Victims Facing Barriers to Accessing Services or Justice (alternate session if you can't make the first date – newly added)
    December 12, 2013 at 5pm EST
  7. Open Forum: Administration of Grants, Unmet Needs, Promising Practices in the Field, Emerging Issues, and Any Other Topics of Interest
    January 16, 2014 at 5pm EST

To register for a conferral session, visit After registering, you will receive information about how to join the conferrals.

Conferral Sessions by Invitation-Only:
(Invitations and instructions will follow via email.)

  1. Issues of Race and Ethnicity
    October 9, 2013 at 5pm EDT
    Open to organizations or programs that specifically serve racial and ethnic minority communities, as well as representatives of these communities.

  2. LGBT Issues
    November 6, 2013 at 5pm EST (new date)
    Open to organizations or programs that specifically serve LGBT communities, as well as representatives of these communities.

STOP/SASP Administrator, Coalitions, and TA Providers:

If you are a STOP or SASP Sate Formula Grant Administrator, a Tribal or State Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Coalition Director, or an OVW Technical Assistance Provider, you will receive information about in-person and virtual (call/webinar) conferral listening sessions. You are welcome to attend the open conferral sessions as well.

Written Comments:

Individuals and organizations may submit written comments for each of the topical calls, but comments are limited to two pages. If comments exceed the limit, only the first two pages will be reviewed. Comments can be submitted any time from now until March 1, 2014. If you would like to submit comments, email them to Please put “conferral” in the subject line.

OVW intends to host a thorough conferral process. However, the conferral plan may need to change in response to developing events in the coming months and to information gleaned in the initial conferral sessions. For example, OVW may determine that fewer webinars/calls are needed or that a particular topic requires additional focus. Notice of relevant changes will be provided via email and/or OVW’s website. Don’t forget you can register for any of the open webinars at

We are excited to hear from you in the coming months.

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Updated April 27, 2017