Services supported by the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) make a difference to victims every day.
- When a survivor chooses to obtain a protective order – a critical safety remedy supported by VAWA –more often than not, it reduces violence.
- Threats to kill or harm decreased nearly 50 percent. Moderate physical abuse decreased 61 percent and severe physical abuse decreased nearly 50 percent. Protective orders reduce all types of intimate partner violence: psychological, financial, physical, and sexual. Reauthorizing VAWA is not only the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do – making sure federal dollars go to highest priorities, address gaps, and have maximum impact.
- In one 24‐hour period, local domestic violence programs served more than 67,000 victims.1
- Three quarters of domestic violence victims (74 percent) rated the assistance they received at a domestic violence shelter as “very helpful” and another 18 percent said it was “helpful.”2
- VAWA has contributed to a significant reduction in domestic violence. Between 1994 and 2010, the rate decreased by 64 percent.3
- When sexual assault victims receive advocate-assisted services, like those provided by the VAWA-supported Sexual Assault Services Program, they receive more helpful information, referrals and services, and experience less secondary trauma or re-victimization by medical and legal systems than those without advocates.4
- Rape survivors supported by advocates were 59% more likely to have police reports taken than survivors without advocates. When advocates are present in the legal and medical proceedings following rape, victims fare better in both the short- and long-term recovery, experiencing less psychological distress, physical health struggles, sexual risk-taking behaviors, self-blame, guilt, and depression.6
- VAWA provides vital services for men, women and children. VAWA is subject to the same general anti-discrimination laws that apply to all federal government activities, and includes specific language noting that male victims cannot be denied VAWA-funded services.7
Women are disproportionally affected by sexual violence, intimate partner violence and stalking.
- Nearly one in five women and one in 71 men have been raped in their lifetime.7
- One in four women and one in seven men have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner.8
- Women are more than four times more likely than men to be beaten, six times more likely to be slammed against something, and nine times more likely to be hurt by choking or suffocating.9
- One in six women have been stalked during their lifetime; one in 19 men have experienced stalking in their lifetime.10
- Women represent 88% of all callers to the National Domestic Violence Hotline.11
VAWA supports a coordinated justice system response to ensure safety for families and children.
- VAWA encourages pro-arrest policies where there is probable cause to believe domestic violence has taken place. All state and local law enforcement have the authority, separate from VAWA, to make arrests where there is probable cause to believe any crime has taken place.
- In every court in the country, there must be at least “reasonable grounds to believe” that one partner has abused the other before a court will issue a protection order.
VAWA does not create any requirements on how states or local courts handle divorce and custody cases within their jurisdictions. The law in most states requires courts to award custody based on the best interests of the child.
- In one Kentucky study12, threats and physical abuse dropped dramatically during the six months after a survivor obtained a protective order.
- VAWA has saved governments more than $14.8 billion in the first 6 years alone.13 In one state (Kentucky), protective orders save at least $85 million annually.14
- VAWA funding will help address the current reality that far too many sexual assault victims are still without services in their communities, and many sexual assault programs often lack resources to fully meet victims’ needs — 60% of programs have waiting lists for sexual assault counseling and 30% have waiting lists for support groups.15
- Domestic Violence Counts 2011: A 24-hour census of domestic violence shelters and services. The National Network to End Domestic Violence (2012). http://nnedv.org/docs/Census/DVCounts2011/DVCounts11_NatlSummary_Color.pdf.
- Meeting Survivors’ Needs: A Multi-‐State Study of Domestic Violence Shelter Experiences. National Resource Center on Domestic Violence & University of Connecticut School of Social Work (2009). See http://www.vawnet.org/research/MeetingSurvivorsNeeds/.
- Catalano, S. (2012, November). Intimate Partner Violence, 1993 – 2010. http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/ipv9310.pdf.
- Campbell, R. (2006). Rape survivors’ experiences with the legal and medical systems: Do rape victim advocates make a difference? Violence Against Women, 12, 30-‐45. doi:10.1177/1077801205277539)
- 42 USC 13925(b)(8)
- Black, M.C., Basile, K.C., Breiding, M.J., Smith, S.G., Walters, M.L., Merrick, M.T., Chen, J., & Stevens, M.R. (2011). The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS): 2010 Summary Report and Fact Sheet. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Ibid. (This number increases to one in six for gay males. See Walters, M.L., Chen J., & Breiding, M.J. (2013). The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS): 2010 Findings on Victimization by Sexual Orientation. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/pdf/NISVS_SOfindings.pdf.).
- National Domestic Violence Hotline (2012).
- 12 The Kentucky Civil Protective Order Study: A Rural and Urban Multiple Perspective Study of Protective Order Violation Consequences, Responses, & Costs (2009). https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/228350.pdf.
- Kathryn Andersen Clark et al., A Cost-‐Benefit Analysis of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994, 8 Violence Against Women 417 (2002).
- Ibid. at 12.
- Survey by the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence programs (2012).