The Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) was established as an independent office on January 30, 2004, pursuant to the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-273). The Act directed that there shall be a “separate and distinct” OVW within the Department, headed by a Director, who “shall report to the Attorney General and serve as Counsel to the Attorney General on the subject of violence against women, and who shall have final authority over all grants, cooperative agreements, and contracts awarded by the Office.”
OVW is responsible for coordination with other departments, agencies, and offices regarding all activities authorized or undertaken under the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 and the Violence Against Women Act of 2000.
The major functions of OVW are to:
- Maintain liaison with the judicial branches of the federal and state governments on matters relating to violence against women.
- Provide information to the President, the Congress, the judiciary, state, local, and tribal governments, and the general public on matters relating to violence against women.
- Serve, at the request of the Attorney General, as the Department’s representative on domestic task forces, committees, or commissions addressing policy or issues relating to violence against women.
- Serve, as directed by the President and the Attorney General, as the representative of the United States Government on human rights and economic justice matters related to violence against women in international fora, including, but not limited to, the United Nations.
- Develop policy, protocols, and guidelines; develop and manage grant programs and other programs, and provide technical assistance; and award and terminate grants, cooperative agreements, and contracts.
- Provide assistance and support to the following: (1) other components of the Department, in efforts to develop policy and to enforce federal laws relating to violence against women, including the litigation of civil and criminal actions such laws; (2) other federal, state, local, and tribal agencies, in efforts to develop policy, provide technical assistance, and improve coordination among agencies carrying out efforts to eliminate violence against women, including Indian or indigenous women; and (3) grantees, in efforts to combat violence against women and to provide support and assistance to victims of such violence.