Violence Against Women Act (VAWA): Key Features


With this being Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and with so many headlines last month about domestic violence and the NFL, we consider it an important time to review key features of he Violence Against Women Act (VAWA): 

On March 7, 2013, President Obama signed into law the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013. This Act strengthens the prior Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) with increased protections for Native American women and other women previously not protected. During the signing ceremony, the President emphasized, “Tribal governments have an inherent right to protect their people, and all women deserve the right to live free from fear. And that is what today is all about.

Special Risk for Native American Women

Currently, Native American women are more than twice as likely to experience  domestic violence as non-Native women. A recent CDC study found that 46% of Native American women have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by a partner in their lifetime.

Following up on countless reports from Native women and tribal leaders, the Administration, led by the Department of Justice, consulted formally with the tribes and then developed and submitted to Congress a proposal to address the barriers that have allowed crimes of domestic violence in Indian country to go unprosecuted. Tribes will now be able to prosecute non-Indian perpetrators of domestic violence against Native American women in Indian country face additional barriers to escaping violence.

Our Native American Channel provides much more Native American health related information, and our Violence Section  provides a variety of violence related information and tools.

Key Features of VAWA:

The strengthened VAWA reminds us that a victim is a victim, regardless of race, sexual orientation, gender identity, immigration status, or tribal affiliation, and all women are worthy of protection. The law passed with large majorities of bipartisan support in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Key programs and services supported by VAWA include:

  • For Women and Girls Fights human trafficking, sexual coercion, violence, and rape;
  • Violence prevention efforts against women on college campuses;
  • Coaching boys into manhood;
  • Engaging men to prevent violence against women;
  • Promoting Tween and Teen violence awareness and protection programs;
  • Supporting best practices for serving children, youth and parents;
  • Provision of provider information and training to support effective identification and responding to domestic violence in health care settings;
  • Conducting employer and employee centered violence prevention programs;

Key additional resources for VAWA information and services include:

Remember the Health Power tagline, or motto:

Knowledge + Action = Power®

Please speak up about violence against women. Have you experienced this, or has it happened to someone you know? How do you think we can help prevent it?

To your good health, physically, mentally, and spiritually,

Dr. Goodwin

President and Founder

Health Power for Minorities

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