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Violence Against Women

Laws and Legislation

Violence Against Women Act

Between 1993 and 2001, there was a 49 percent drop in the number of nonfatal, violent acts committed by intimate partners.

Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Crime Data Brief: Intimate Partner Violence, 1993-2001

First passed in 1994, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) made domestic violence and sexual assault crimes. The VAWA created new punishments for these crimes and gave agencies helping victims more funding to improve their services. In 2000, the VAWA was re-authorized, meaning that Congress and the president agreed to renew the law. In addition to re-authorizing the law, stalking and dating violence were added to the list of crimes covered by the law. Also, more funding was added for legal aid programs for victims. On January 5, 2006, the law was again re-authorized, with even more programs and services added. Some of these include:

  • violence prevention programs
  • new protections for victims who are evicted from their apartments because they are victims of domestic violence and/or stalking
  • funding for rape crisis centers
  • programs to meet the needs of women of different races or ethnicities
  • more programs and services for victims with disabilities
  • services for children and teens

In 1995, statistics showed a large increase in the number of sexual assaults and domestic violence cases in the United States. In response, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Justice announced the creation of the National Advisory Council on Violence Against Women. Council members include experts in domestic violence, sexual assault and rape, child abuse and neglect, elder abuse, substance abuse, mental health, and minority and women's health. For over ten years, the Council has worked to spread the word about domestic violence and create solutions.

The National Advisory Council on Violence Against Women activities include:

Additional Information on Laws and Legislation:

If you're a victim of abuse or violence at the hands of someone you know or love, or you are recovering from an assault by a stranger, you are not alone.

To get immediate help and support
call the National Domestic Violence Hotline
at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

or the National Sexual Assault Hotline
at 1-800-656-4673.
You can also visit the
National Sexual Assault Online Hotline.


  1. Federal resource  Toolkit to End Violence Against Women - This toolkit provides concrete guidance to communities, policy leaders, and individuals engaged in activities to end violence against women. Numerous experts in the fields of sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking reviewed the recommendations in this Toolkit.

  2. Federal resource  Violence Against Women: Federal Legislation and Regulations - This resource links to information on every federal law and regulation applicable to violence against women.

  3. Stalking Laws (Copyright © NCVC) - The National Center for Victims of Crime has compiled this comprehensive listing of stalking laws. You can find information about criminal stalking laws by state, civil stalking laws by state, the federal interstate stalking statute, a summary of Federal laws, federal penalties statutes and even tribal codes on stalking.


  1. Federal resource  National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS)
  2. Federal resource  Office on Violence Against Women, OJP, DOJ

Federal resource = Indicates Federal Resources

Content last updated September 1, 2007.

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