VAWA, also known as The Violence Against Women Act, is a part of the legislation for improving justice and community-based violence. It responds to domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking in the US. VAWA went through many ups and downs since its inception. It was enacted in the year 1994 and was reauthorized in the years 2000, 2005 and then 2013. VAWA has been successful in changing the landscape for those victims who were once suffering in silence and was in the dark. The victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking are now able to access all the services related to VAWA. With the initiation of VAWA, it was clear that the families of this new generation and the justice professionals will no longer tolerate such heinous crimes anymore.
In the year 1994, VAWA envisioned:
- Support and recognition for all the domestic violence shelters, community organization and rape crisis centers in the nation for ending this violence.
- Federal prosecution of all the interstate domestic violence and crimes of sexual assault.
- Protection for all the battered immigrants.
- A new area of focus on the underserved populations of sexual assault and domestic violence.
In the year 2000, Congress improved the foundation which was established for VAWA in 1994.
- Identifying the other related crimes of stalking and dating violence.
- Creation of a legal assistance program for all the victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.
- Protection of the immigrants who experience dating violence, domestic violence, stalking or sexual assault. It was done by establishing T- and U-visas.
Congress attempted for a more holistic approach against women violence. In addition to enhancing of civil and criminal justice violence, VAWA created new areas of focus.
- Creation of provisions that will exclusively serve the immigrant victims from domestic violence. Protection for immigrant women for alleviating violence was also included.
- Protection of individuals from unfair eviction due to their social status as the victims of stalking or domestic violence.
- Enhancing various services and programs for the victims with disabilities.
- Development of linguistically and culturally specific services for the various communities.
- Development of prevention strategies for stopping violence before it initiates.
- Broadening of the service provisions related to VAWA for including teenagers and children.
- Creation of a federal system of funding for supporting the rape crisis centers.
In the year 2013, President Barack Obama reauthorized all the provisions of VAWA. He included new provisions that extended to the protection of the member of LGBTQ community and Native Americans from physical abuse.
- Enforcement of new laws with the addition of new resources for investigating the cases of rape more diligently.
- Provided colleges with tools for educating the students about sexual assault and dating violence.
- Empowered all the tribal courts for prosecution of all those who commits domestic violence and sexual assault on tribal lands.
- Relief for all the immigrant victims from domestic violence.
- Assistance and care for the LGBTQ victims.
History of progress:
VAWA has been evident since the day it has been implemented. All the states of the US will be there for you in case you become a victim of sexual assault or immigrant molestation. All the states in US have passed several laws which makes stalking a heinous crime. It also changed those laws that stated spousal or date rape as a lesser degree of crime as compared to stranger rape. VAWA is regarded as the most effective federal system for fighting against sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking in the whole world.