Justice Department Announces $49.85 Million in Office on Violence Against Women Grants to Support Legal Services and Related Programs for Survivors
The Department of Justice announced today nearly $50 million in Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) grants to provide survivors of gender-based violence with access to legal services and improve effective coordination of justice systems impacting victim and family safety. Specifically, OVW awarded a total of $35,659,296 to 59 grantees under the Legal Assistance for Victims Program, which addresses the legal needs of survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. In addition, earlier this month, OVW’s Justice for Families Program awarded $14,191,208 to 26 projects that aim to improve the response of the civil and criminal justice systems to families with a history of domestic violence. The Justice for Families Program also supports supervised visitation and safe exchange of children.
“These grants will help expand access to the services and support that are essential to bringing justice within reach for survivors of gender-based violence,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “The Department’s Office on Violence Against Women will continue its important work to empower survivors with the resources they need to navigate our justice system, including by expanding access to legal representation, language assistance, and court-related programs.”
“Legal services and systems, including family courts, have a tremendous impact on survivors’ and their families’ livelihood, wellbeing, and freedom,” said OVW Acting Director Allison Randall. “Meaningful representation for survivors is vital, but can be difficult to attain in the aftermath of violence, or when someone is still trying to find safety. Grantees under OVW’s Legal Assistance for Victims and Justice for Families Programs help survivors navigate complicated processes and potentially dangerous points along the way, including supervised visitation, protection orders, and divorce.”
In addition to addressing survivors’ civil and criminal legal needs, the Legal Assistance for Victims Program expands pro bono legal assistance for survivors. The Justice for Families Program also finances court and court-related programs, provides legal assistance for survivors, and supports training for court personnel, child protective services workers, and others.
Later this year, OVW will launch the new Expanding Legal Services Initiative (ELSI) under the Legal Assistance for Victims Grant Program. ELSI will support entities that do not yet have a legal representation program and need assistance establishing one. Grantees will receive specific training to help create a legal program from the ground up, while prioritizing racial equity and underserved communities. OVW will release the solicitation for this new initiative in the fall. Eligible applicants include nonprofit organizations and tribal governments or tribal organizations that intend to establish a program to provide legal representation to victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking. OVW will provide additional details at upcoming informational virtual events and answer questions from participants. Registration for virtual events will be added as it becomes available: https://www.justice.gov/ovw/events.
OVW provides leadership in developing the nation’s capacity to reduce violence through the implementation of the Violence Against Women Act and subsequent legislation. 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. In addition to overseeing federal grant programs, OVW undertakes initiatives in response to special needs identified by communities facing acute challenges. Learn more at www.justice.gov/ovw.