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Improving Law Enforcement Response to Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence by Identifying and Preventing Gender Bias

In 2022, the Department of Justice released updated guidance on Improving Law Enforcement Response to Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence by Identifying and Preventing Gender Bias. This guidance is designed to help law enforcement agencies recognize, mitigate, and prevent gender bias and other bias from compromising the response to, and investigation of, sexual assault, domestic violence, and other forms of gender-based violence. The guidance provides a set of eight basic principles that – if integrated into LEAs’ policies, trainings and practices – help ensure that gender bias, either intentionally or unintentionally, does not undermine efforts to keep survivors safe and hold offenders accountable.


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Framework for Prosecutors to Strengthen Our National Response to Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Involving Adult Victims

Released in May 2024, this guide seeks to strengthen our collective response to the prosecution of sexual assault and domestic violence by equipping prosecutors to build provable cases in a trauma-informed manner that treats victims with humanity and ensures due process for defendants. Written by prosecutors for prosecutors, this guide reflects decades of expertise, insight, and experience of more than 120 state, Tribal, military, and federal prosecutors, as well as advocates, academics, and investigators who have dedicated their careers to combatting sexual assault and domestic violence.


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Misdemeanor Crimes Domestic Violence Reference Card

The Department of Justice issued a new Reference Card explaining the tools available under the Gun Control Act to prosecute domestic violence offenders who illegally obtain firearms – including the new Bipartisan Safer Communities Act dating-relationship provisions.


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Know Your Rights: Non-Consensual Disclosure of Intimate Images

Congress added a new provision in the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2022. This allows individuals to bring a civil action in federal court against someone who shared intimate images, explicit pictures, recorded videos, or other depictions without consent (15 U.S.C. § 6851). It also includes sharing those intimate images through technology, such as the internet or social media. The Department of Justice’s Access to Justice, the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, and the Office of Violence Against Women have created a “Know Your Rights” pamphlet. The pamphlet raises awareness about the new civil cause of action and provides information and resources on how to initiate a civil lawsuit in federal court.


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Highlights of OVW Accomplishments on the First Anniversary of the U.S. National Plan to End Gender-Based Violence

The hallmark of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is its emphasis on a coordinated community response (CCR), which fosters a multi-sectoral approach that is survivor-centered and trauma-informed, bringing together victim service providers, criminal and civil justice systems, community-based organizations,  health care providers, and other partners at the local level to meet the diverse needs of survivors on their path to safety, justice, healing, and well-being. The U.S. National Plan to End Gender-Based Violence: Strategies for Action (GBV National Plan), which was launched in May 2023, further promotes this concept by establishing a “federal coordinated community response.” This plan acts as a comprehensive blueprint for a whole-of-government approach that builds on the lessons learned and achievements made through the efforts of GBV survivors, advocates, and others over the years, aiming to enhance strategies to prevent and address gender-based violence effectively and more comprehensively.

As we mark the one-year anniversary since the launch of the GBV National Plan, below are highlights of the Office on Violence Against Women's (OVW) key achievements that contribute to advancing the vision and goals of the GBV National Plan. These initiatives span the seven pillars of the GBV National Plan.

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Updated June 4, 2024