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. 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.
OVW administers both formula-based and discretionary grant programs, established under VAWA and subsequent legislation. The four formula programs are STOP (Services, Training, Officers, Prosecutors), SASP (Sexual Assault Services Program), State Coalitions, and Tribal Coalitions. The discretionary programs work to support victims and hold perpetrators accountable through promoting a coordinated community response.
Funding is awarded to local, state and tribal governments, courts, non-profit organizations, community-based organizations, secondary schools, institutions of higher education, and state and tribal coalitions. Grants are used to develop effective responses to violence against women through activities that include direct services, crisis intervention, transitional housing, legal assistance to victims, court improvement, and training for law enforcement and courts.
Since its inception, OVW has awarded over $7 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.