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The History of the Office on Violence Against Women

Congress passed VAWA in 1994 in recognition of the severity of crimes associated with domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Created in 1995, the Office on Violence Against Women (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. Congress reauthorized VAWA in 2005, 2013, and 2022.

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 survivors and hold offenders accountable through promoting a coordinated community response. 

We award funding to local, state, and Tribal governments, courts, non-profit organizations, community-based organizations, secondary schools, institutions of higher education, and state and Tribal coalitions. OVW grants help develop effective responses to violence against women through activities that include direct services, crisis intervention, transitional housing, legal assistance to survivors, court improvement, and training for law enforcement and courts.

Since inception, we awarded more than $10.5 billion in grants and cooperative agreement and 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.

OVW's organizational chart

Download the facts about OVW

Updated March 21, 2024