United States Department of Justice commemorates the National Domestic Violence Awareness Month by announcing more than $476 million in grants to address the rampant increase in the number of dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking cases in the nation. The Justice Department has shown its support by providing grants to the Office on Violence against Women (OVW) and joining law enforcement partners, professionals of victim services, advocates, and communities across the United States in acknowledging the survivors of domestic violence, and observing October as the National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The $476 million funding is intended to support projects dedicated to addressing the needs of the underserved and marginalized survivors, including programs that would drastically improve survivors’ safety and victims’ access to justice. Moreover, the grants shall also be directed to the establishment of projects that will provide training and technical assistance to an array of professionals and systems. This shall allow more officials and experts to efficiently and effectively tackle domestic violence in every state and territory within the country and dozens of tribal communities.
Table of Contents
- Strategy to tackle Domestic Violence in Local Communities
- Proclamation on National Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention Month
- Statement by Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco
- Statement by Acting Director Allison Randall of the Office on Violence Against Women
- 2021 OVW FORMULA GRANT PROGRAMS
- Services, Training, Officers, Prosecutors (STOP) Violence Against Women Formula Grant Program
- Sexual Assault Services Program (SASP) Formula Grant Programs:
- State and Territorial Coalitions Program
- Tribal Coalitions Program
- OVW DISCRETIONARY PROGRAM FUNDING FOR 2021
- Legal Assistance for Victims
- Transitional Housing
- Rural Program
- Grants to Tribal Governments
- Training and Technical Assistance Program
- Other Components of the 2021 OVW Discretionary Program Funding
- About the Office on Violence Against Women
Strategy to tackle Domestic Violence in Local Communities
Apart from the allocation of grant funding, the U.S. Department of Justice is also tackling domestic and sexual violence in local and tribal communities through various courses of action. The Justice Department has outlined a comprehensive strategy that focuses on addressing violent crime. The strategy, as mentioned above, assigns the U.S. Attorneys to lead the plan of action via evaluating the perpetrators of violent crime in their region and developing a powerful approach to confront and hold the perpetrators accountable for their actions. In addition to over $476 million in grants, announced by the Office on Violence Against Women, more than $1.2 billion in the Fiscal Year 2021 Victims of Crime Act funding has been declared by the Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs on September 20, 2021. Both financings will play a massive role in the comprehensive strategy that tackles domestic violence and other violent crimes.
Proclamation on National Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention Month
President Joseph R. Biden – the original author of the Violence Against Women Act – highlighted in his Domestic Violence Awareness Month proclamation for Americans to reaffirm their commitment to ending all forms of violence against women, including dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Additionally, President Joe Biden proposed a remarkable $1 billion grant for programs administered under the OVW, which would be considered one of the first in history.
Statement by Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco
Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco brings light to the difficulties and implications of the COVID-19 pandemic to victims and survivors of domestic violence. She notes that abuse may be intensified during this time, as individuals are being isolated with abusers, and additional triggers to abusers are brought on by a loss of income and stress over the current global pandemic. Deputy Attorney General Monaco further stated that Domestic Violence Awareness Month had become a thoughtful reminder of the consequences of violence against women to the survivors and the rest of the country. In line with this, Lisa Monaco says the OVW grants shall provide local organizations with resources to improve and foster support towards survivors as they heal, as well as to enhance the victims’ access to justice, and boost local, state, and tribal training of officials to assemble teams and appropriate plans of action to address the needs and concerns of victims and survivors specifically.
“Domestic Violence Awareness Month is a sobering reminder of the harm domestic violence inflicts across our country, at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic means that for many survivors, abuse may be compounded by being isolated with an abuser, loss of income, and stress over the virus itself. These OVW grants will provide local organizations with resources to support survivors as they heal, promote victim access to justice, and further local, state, and tribal training efforts to best prepare officials to respond to these dangerous calls,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco.
Statement by Acting Director Allison Randall of the Office on Violence Against Women
In the best interest of domestic violence survivors, Acting Director Allison Randall of the Office on Violence Against Women claimed that the grant awards the Office allocated this year will immensely aid the nation in the prevention and combatting of sexual assault and stalking, as it would touch the lives of millions of survivors of domestic violence. Acting Director Randall also proudly stated that the OVW is leading the federal voice in the United States’ fight against domestic and dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Allison Randall further announced that the grants are intended to be used to fund victim services and culturally specific responses, in addition to funding legal assistance, law enforcement and prosecution services, and court practices. The OVW grant awards will also be used for the training and technical assistance to best prepare officials and professionals to help victims and survivors.
“The grant awards we make this year will not only touch the lives of millions of survivors of domestic violence but also help our nation prevent and end sexual assault and stalking. OVW is proud to be the leading federal voice in the country’s fight against these devastating crimes. Grant awards announced today will fund victim services, culturally specific responses, legal assistance, law enforcement, and prosecution services, and court practices, as well as training and technical assistance to an array of professionals who help survivors every day,” said Acting Director Allison Randall of OVW.
2021 OVW FORMULA GRANT PROGRAMS
Services, Training, Officers, Prosecutors (STOP) Violence Against Women Formula Grant Program
A total of $153.1 million is being granted to all states and territories to support communities, particularly American Indian tribes and Alaska Native villages, in their efforts to establish and foster effective responses to dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. In accordance with the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 and subsequent legislation that authorized the STOP Formula Grant Program, 30% of the funds shall be allocated solely for victim services, of which at least 10% shall be dedicated to culturally specific, community-based organizations. Furthermore, a minimum of 25% of the state’s formula funding must be distributed to law enforcement, as is in prosecuting these legal matters, and 5% to courts.
Sexual Assault Services Program (SASP) Formula Grant Programs:
For states and territories to provide direct intervention and related assistance to victims of sexual assault, a $28.2 million grant was awarded by the OVW. The SASP Grant Program shall cover necessities for states and territories to assist victims of sexual assault via reinforcing and supporting rape crisis centers, along with other nonprofit, nongovernmental organizations, or tribal programs that provide direct intervention, services, and other related assistance to victims of sexual assault. Funds allocated to the SASP are intended to supplement other funding sources of sexual assault services in states and territories.
State and Territorial Coalitions Program
Investing in the coordination of victim services activities, $15.1 million has been awarded to fund 87 state and territorial domestic violence and sexual assault coalitions. The coalitions were pre-determined by the Department of Health and Human Services and are said to support domestic violence shelters, member rape crisis centers, and other victim service providers through funding, creation of public awareness activities, establishing public policy advocacies, and providing training and technical assistance to officials and professionals.
Tribal Coalitions Program
$6.1 million has been awarded to support 18 nonprofit, nongovernmental tribal domestic violence and sexual assault coalitions that provide education, support to survivors, and technical assistance to tribal victim service providers. Through this, tribes are then able to enhance their response to the dangerous calls of dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, sex trafficking, and stalking.
Additional information on the Formula Grant Programs is available through the OVW’s fact sheet.
OVW DISCRETIONARY PROGRAM FUNDING FOR 2021
Legal Assistance for Victims
About 59 projects that provide a range of services, including legal assistance to victims, have been awarded a total of $35.8 million. Implementation, establishment, and expansion of efforts and projects that provided competently and supervised pro bono legal assistance for victims are also to be expected.
$35.3 million is to be divided amongst 68 programs in support of a minor, an adult, or a dependent of such minor or adult, who is in the process of fleeing from an abuser or from a situation of dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. The grant is meant to aid in the funding of the operating expenses of newly established or existing transitional housing programs, as well as aid in the funding of short-term housing assistance covering rental or utility payments and other related housing expenses. Moreover, these grants will also be allocated for voluntary services that assist victims and survivors in terms of locating and securing job retention counseling, occupational training, permanent housing, and secure employment, along with providing assistance in the integration of the minor, adult, or dependent, into a community through services including case management, child care services, counseling, and transportation, among other benefits available.
$34.6 million is awarded to 46 programs to identify, assess, and respond to victims and survivors of violence in rural communities. In line with this, collaboration with law enforcement officials and professionals is being strengthened. Nonprofit, nongovernmental, state, tribal, territorial, and local government victim services in rural communities are also being established and expanded.
Grants to Tribal Governments
Around 40 programs are being awarded $32.4 million to increase tribal capacity in terms of responding to dating and domestic violence, sexual assault, sex trafficking, and stalking crimes against American Indian and Alaska Native women. Furthermore, tribal justice interventions and victim services are being strengthened and improved. Policies, protocols, and training for law enforcement are also being highlighted to address missing or murder cases of Indians.
Training and Technical Assistance Program
Technical Assistance projects that offer in-person and online opportunities and services are being awarded $36.2 million. About 65 programs are being funded to provide training and proposed plans of action to address challenges involving violence against women. Additional information may be accessed through the OVW’s Training and Technical Assistance website.
Other Components of the 2021 OVW Discretionary Program Funding
On top of the aforementioned discretionary programs, there are several other programs that combat and address domestic violence awarded with funding by the OVW. $30.8 million was awarded to 41 programs that heavily coordinate cases with the criminal justice system and victim service providers to improve criminal justice responses. About 52 Campus Programs have been awarded $16.2 million; exactly 24 Justice for Families projects granted with $13.6 million; and 20 programs involving Consolidated Youth and Engaging Men were awarded $9 million. A total of 23 projects under Culturally Specific Services also received $6.8 million; 11 Underserved Programs were awarded $4.9 million; ten Disabilities Programs received $4.1 million; 14 Sexual Assault Services Culturally Specific Programs were awarded $4 million, and ten Tribal Sexual Assault Services Programs are funded $3.8 million in the grant. Seven projects under the Research and Evaluation Initiative have been awarded $2.3 million, and four programs dedicated to Abuse in Later Life were granted $1.4 million. Approximately $1 million was also awarded to each of the programs under the National Tribal Clearinghouse on Sexual Assault and the Resource Center on Workplace Responses to Assist Victims of Domestic and Sexual Violence Program. The two programs under the Special Domestic Violence Jurisdiction Programs were also awarded $733,691 to design, implement, and exercise the special domestic violence criminal jurisdiction.
About the Office on Violence Against Women
Since 1995, the Office on Violence Against Women has been leading the development of the nation’s capacity to combat and prevent violence through the forceful implementation of the Violence Against Women Act and subsequent legislation. In addition, the OVW is responsible for administering financial and technical assistance to various communities across the United States, which help in the establishment, expansion, and improvement of programs, policies, and practices designed to end dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Initiatives that address special needs within communities facing acute challenges are also under the responsibility of the OVW.