In this subchapter:
The term “courts” means any civil or criminal, tribal, and Alaska Native Village, Federal, State, local or territorial court having jurisdiction to address domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault or stalking, including immigration, family, juvenile, and dependency courts, and the judicial officers serving in those courts, including judges, magistrate judges, commissioners, justices of the peace, or any other person with decisionmaking authority.
The term “child abuse and neglect” means any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caregiver with intent to cause death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse, or exploitation, or an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm. This definition shall not be construed to mean that failure to leave an abusive relationship, in the absence of other action constituting abuse or neglect, is itself abuse or neglect.
The term “community-based organization” means an organization that—
(A) focuses primarily on domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking;
(B) has established a specialized culturally specific program that addresses domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking;
(C) has a primary focus on underserved populations (and includes representatives of these populations) and domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking; or
(D) obtains expertise, or shows demonstrated capacity to work effectively, on domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking through collaboration.
The term “child maltreatment” means the physical or psychological abuse or neglect of a child or youth, including sexual assault and abuse.
The term “court-based” and “court-related personnel” mean persons working in the court, whether paid or volunteer, including—
(A) clerks, special masters, domestic relations officers, administrators, mediators, custody evaluators, guardians ad litem, lawyers, negotiators, probation, parole, interpreters, victim assistants, victim advocates, and judicial, administrative, or any other professionals or personnel similarly involved in the legal process;
(B) court security personnel;
(C) personnel working in related, supplementary offices or programs (such as child support enforcement); and
(D) any other court-based or community-based personnel having responsibilities or authority to address domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking in the court system.
The term “domestic violence” includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction receiving grant monies, or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person's acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction.
The term “dating partner” refers to a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the abuser, and where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of—
(A) the length of the relationship;
(B) the type of relationship; and
(C) the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
The term “dating violence” means violence committed by a person—
(A) who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and
(B) where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors:
(i) The length of the relationship.
(ii) The type of relationship.
(iii) The frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
The term “elder abuse” means any action against a person who is 50 years of age or older that constitutes the willful—
(A) infliction of injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation, or cruel punishment with resulting physical harm, pain, or mental anguish; or
(B) deprivation by a person, including a caregiver, of goods or services with intent to cause physical harm, mental anguish, or mental illness.
The term “Indian” means a member of an Indian tribe.
The term “Indian country” has the same meaning given such term in section 1151 of title 18.
The term “Indian housing” means housing assistance described in the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act of 1996 (25 U.S.C. 4101 et seq., as amended).
The term “Indian tribe” means a tribe, band, pueblo, nation, or other organized group or community of Indians, including any Alaska Native village or regional or village corporation (as defined in, or established pursuant to, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (43 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.)), that is recognized as eligible for the special programs and services provided by the United States to Indians because of their status as Indians.
The term “Indian law enforcement” means the departments or individuals under the direction of the Indian tribe that maintain public order.
The term “law enforcement” means a public agency charged with policing functions, including any of its component bureaus (such as governmental victim services programs), including those referred to in section 2802 of title 25.
The term “legal assistance” includes assistance to adult and youth victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking in—
(A) family, tribal, territorial, immigration, employment, administrative agency, housing matters, campus administrative or protection or stay away order proceedings, and other similar matters; and
(B) criminal justice investigations, prosecutions and post-trial matters (including sentencing, parole, and probation) that impact the victim's safety and privacy.
The term “linguistically and culturally specific services” means community-based services that offer full linguistic access and culturally specific services and resources, including outreach, collaboration, and support mechanisms primarily directed toward underserved communities.
The term “personally identifying information” or “personal information” means individually identifying information for or about an individual including information likely to disclose the location of a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking, including—
(A) a first and last name;
(B) a home or other physical address;
(C) contact information (including a postal, e-mail or Internet protocol address, or telephone or facsimile number);
(D) a social security number; and
(E) any other information, including date of birth, racial or ethnic background, or religious affiliation, that, in combination with any of subparagraphs (A) through (D), would serve to identify any individual.
The term “prosecution” means any public agency charged with direct responsibility for prosecuting criminal offenders, including such agency's component bureaus (such as governmental victim services programs).
The term “protection order” or “restraining order” includes—
(A) any injunction, restraining order, or any other order issued by a civil or criminal court for the purpose of preventing violent or threatening acts or harassment against, sexual violence or contact or communication with or physical proximity to, another person, including any temporary or final orders issued by civil or criminal courts whether obtained by filing an independent action or as a pendente lite order in another proceeding so long as any civil order was issued in response to a complaint, petition, or motion filed by or on behalf of a person seeking protection; and
(B) any support, child custody or visitation provisions, orders, remedies, or relief issued as part of a protection order, restraining order, or stay away injunction pursuant to State, tribal, territorial, or local law authorizing the issuance of protection orders, restraining orders, or injunctions for the protection of victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
The term “rural area” and “rural community” mean—
(A) any area or community, respectively, no part of which is within an area designated as a standard metropolitan statistical area by the Office of Management and Budget; or
(B) any area or community, respectively, that is—
(i) within an area designated as a metropolitan statistical area or considered as part of a metropolitan statistical area; and
(ii) located in a rural census tract.
The term “rural State” means a State that has a population density of 52 or fewer persons per square mile or a State in which the largest county has fewer than 150,000 people, based on the most recent decennial census.
The term “sexual assault” means any conduct proscribed by chapter 109A of title 18, whether or not the conduct occurs in the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States or in a Federal prison and includes both assaults committed by offenders who are strangers to the victim and assaults committed by offenders who are known or related by blood or marriage to the victim.
The term “stalking” means engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to—
(A) fear for his or her safety or the safety of others; or
(B) suffer substantial emotional distress.
The term “State” means each of the several States and the District of Columbia, and except as otherwise provided, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands.
The term “State domestic violence coalition” means a program determined by the Administration for Children and Families under sections 10402 and 10411 of this title.
The term “State sexual assault coalition” means a program determined by the Center for Injury Prevention and Control of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 280b et seq.).
The term “territorial domestic violence or sexual assault coalition” means a program addressing domestic or sexual violence that is—
(A) an established nonprofit, nongovernmental territorial coalition addressing domestic violence or sexual assault within the territory; or
(B) a nongovernmental organization with a demonstrated history of addressing domestic violence or sexual assault within the territory that proposes to incorporate as a nonprofit, nongovernmental territorial coalition.
The term “tribal coalition” means—
(A) an established nonprofit, nongovernmental tribal coalition addressing domestic violence and sexual assault against American Indian or Alaskan Native women; or
(B) individuals or organizations that propose to incorporate as nonprofit, nongovernmental tribal coalitions to address domestic violence and sexual assault against American Indian or Alaska Native women.
The term “tribal government” means—
(A) the governing body of an Indian tribe; or
(B) a tribe, band, pueblo, nation, or other organized group or community of Indians, including any Alaska Native village or regional or village corporation (as defined in, or established pursuant to, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (43 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.)), that is recognized as eligible for the special programs and services provided by the United States to Indians because of their status as Indians.
The term “tribal nonprofit organization” means—
(A) a victim services provider that has as its primary purpose to assist Native victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking; and
(B) staff and leadership of the organization must include persons with a demonstrated history of assisting American Indian or Alaska Native victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
The term “tribal organization” means—
(A) the governing body of any Indian tribe;
(B) any legally established organization of Indians which is controlled, sanctioned, or chartered by such governing body of a tribe or tribes to be served, or which is democratically elected by the adult members of the Indian community to be served by such organization and which includes the maximum participation of Indians in all phases of its activities; or
(C) any tribal nonprofit organization.
The term “underserved populations” includes populations underserved because of geographic location, underserved racial and ethnic populations, populations underserved because of special needs (such as language barriers, disabilities, alienage status, or age), and any other population determined to be underserved by the Attorney General or by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, as appropriate.
The term “victim advocate” means a person, whether paid or serving as a volunteer, who provides services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, or dating violence under the auspices or supervision of a victim services program.
The term “victim assistant” means a person, whether paid or serving as a volunteer, who provides services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, or dating violence under the auspices or supervision of a court or a law enforcement or prosecution agency.
The term “victim services” or “victim service provider” means a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization that assists domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking victims, including rape crisis centers, domestic violence shelters, faith-based organizations, and other organizations, with a documented history of effective work concerning domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
The term “youth” means teen and young adult victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
No matching funds shall be required for any grant or subgrant made under this Act for—
(A) any tribe, territory, or victim service provider; or
(B) any other entity, including a State, that—
(i) petitions for a waiver of any match condition imposed by the Attorney General or the Secretaries of Health and Human Services or Housing and Urban Development; and
(ii) whose petition for waiver is determined by the Attorney General or the Secretaries of Health and Human Services or Housing and Urban Development to have adequately demonstrated the financial need of the petitioning entity.
In order to ensure the safety of adult, youth, and child victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking, and their families, grantees and subgrantees under this subchapter shall protect the confidentiality and privacy of persons receiving services.
Subject to subparagraphs (C) and (D), grantees and subgrantees shall not—
(i) disclose any personally identifying information or individual information collected in connection with services requested, utilized, or denied through grantees’ and subgrantees’ programs; or
(ii) reveal individual client information without the informed, written, reasonably time-limited consent of the person (or in the case of an unemancipated minor, the minor and the parent or guardian or in the case of persons with disabilities, the guardian) about whom information is sought, whether for this program or any other Federal, State, tribal, or territorial grant program, except that consent for release may not be given by the abuser of the minor, person with disabilities, or the abuser of the other parent of the minor.
If release of information described in subparagraph (B) is compelled by statutory or court mandate—
(i) grantees and subgrantees shall make reasonable attempts to provide notice to victims affected by the disclosure of information; and
(ii) grantees and subgrantees shall take steps necessary to protect the privacy and safety of the persons affected by the release of the information.
Grantees and subgrantees may share—
(i) nonpersonally identifying data in the aggregate regarding services to their clients and nonpersonally identifying demographic information in order to comply with Federal, State, tribal, or territorial reporting, evaluation, or data collection requirements;
(ii) court-generated information and law-enforcement generated information contained in secure, governmental registries for protection order enforcement purposes; and
(iii) law enforcement- and prosecution-generated information necessary for law enforcement and prosecution purposes.
Nothing in this paragraph shall prevent the Attorney General from disclosing grant activities authorized in this Act to the chairman and ranking members of the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives and the Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate exercising Congressional oversight authority. All disclosures shall protect confidentiality and omit personally identifying information, including location information about individuals.
In carrying out the activities under this subchapter, grantees and subgrantees may collaborate with and provide information to Federal, State, local, tribal, and territorial public officials and agencies to develop and implement policies to reduce or eliminate domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.
Any Federal funds received under this subchapter shall be used to supplement, not supplant, non-Federal funds that would otherwise be available for activities under this subchapter.
Funds authorized and appropriated under this subchapter may be used only for the specific purposes described in this subchapter and shall remain available until expended.
An entity receiving a grant under this subchapter shall submit to the disbursing agency a report detailing the activities undertaken with the grant funds, including and providing additional information as the agency shall require.
Federal agencies disbursing funds under this subchapter shall set aside up to 3 percent of such funds in order to conduct—
(A) evaluations of specific programs or projects funded by the disbursing agency under this subchapter or related research; or
(B) evaluations of promising practices or problems emerging in the field or related research, in order to inform the agency or agencies as to which programs or projects are likely to be effective or responsive to needs in the field.
Nothing in this subchapter shall be construed to prohibit male victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking from receiving benefits and services under this subchapter.
Funds appropriated for the grant program under this subchapter may not be used to fund civil representation in a lawsuit based on a tort claim. This paragraph should not be construed as a prohibition on providing assistance to obtain restitution in a protection order or criminal case.
Any funds appropriated for the grant program shall be subject to the prohibition in section 1913 of title 18, relating to lobbying with appropriated moneys.
Of the total amounts appropriated under this subchapter, not less than 3 percent and up to 8 percent, unless otherwise noted, shall be available for providing training and technical assistance relating to the purposes of this subchapter to improve the capacity of the grantees, subgrantees, and other entities. If there is a demonstrated history that the Office on Violence Against Women has previously set aside amounts greater than 8 percent for technical assistance and training relating to grant programs authorized under this subchapter, the Office has the authority to continue setting aside amounts greater than 8 percent.
(Pub. L. 103–322, title IV, §40002, as added Pub. L. 109–162, §3(a), Jan. 5, 2006, 119 Stat. 2964; amended Pub. L. 109–271, §§1(d)–(f), 2(e), Aug. 12, 2006, 120 Stat. 751, 752; Pub. L. 111–320, title II, §202(d), Dec. 20, 2010, 124 Stat. 3509.)
This subchapter, referred to in text, was in the original “this title”, meaning title IV of Pub. L. 103–322, Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 1902, as amended, known as the Violence Against Women Act of 1994. For complete classification of title IV to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 13701 of this title and Tables.
The Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act of 1996, referred to in subsec. (a)(12), is Pub. L. 104–330, Oct. 26, 1996, 110 Stat. 4016, as amended, which is classified principally to chapter 43 (§4101 et seq.) of Title 25, Indians. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 4101 of Title 25 and Tables.
The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, referred to in subsec. (a)(13), (30)(B), is Pub. L. 92–203, Dec. 18, 1971, 85 Stat. 688, as amended, which is classified generally to chapter 33 (§1601 et seq.) of Title 43, Public Lands. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 1601 of Title 43 and Tables.
The Public Health Service Act, referred to in subsec. (a)(27), is act July 1, 1944, ch. 373, 58 Stat. 682, as amended, which is classified generally to chapter 6A (§ 201 et seq.) of this title. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 201 of this title and Tables.
This Act, referred to in subsec. (b)(1), (2)(E), is Pub. L. 103–322, Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 1796, known as the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 13701 of this title and Tables.
2010—Subsec. (a)(26). Pub. L. 111–320 substituted “under sections 10402 and 10411 of this title” for “under the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (42 U.S.C. 10410(b))”.
2006—Subsec. (a)(1). Pub. L. 109–271, §1(e)(1), substituted “Alaska Native” for “Alaskan”.
Subsec. (a)(23). Pub. L. 109–271, §1(d), substituted “proscribed” for “prescribed”.
Subsec. (a)(31) to (37). Pub. L. 109–271, §1(e)(2), (3), added par. (31) and redesignated former pars. (31) to (36) as (32) to (37), respectively.
Subsec. (b)(1). Pub. L. 109–271, §1(f), added par. (1) and struck out former par. (1) which read as follows: “No matching funds shall be required for a grant or subgrant made under this subchapter for any tribe, territory, victim service provider, or any entity that the Attorney General determines has adequately demonstrated financial need.”
Subsec. (b)(11). Pub. L. 109–271, §2(e), inserted “Of the total amounts appropriated under this subchapter, not less than 3 percent and up to 8 percent, unless otherwise noted, shall be available for providing training and technical assistance relating to the purposes of this subchapter to improve the capacity of the grantees, subgrantees, and other entities.” before “If there is a demonstrated history”.
Pub. L. 109–162, title II, §201, Jan. 5, 2006, 119 Stat. 2993, provided that: “Congress finds the following:
“(1) Nearly 1/3 of American women report physical or sexual abuse by a husband or boyfriend at some point in their lives.
“(2) According to the National Crime Victimization Survey, 248,000 Americans 12 years of age and older were raped or sexually assaulted in 2002.
“(3) Rape and sexual assault in the United States is estimated to cost $127,000,000,000 per year, including—
“(A) lost productivity;
“(B) medical and mental health care;
“(C) police and fire services;
“(D) social services;
“(E) loss of and damage to property; and
“(F) reduced quality of life.
“(4) Nonreporting of sexual assault in rural areas is a particular problem because of the high rate of nonstranger sexual assault.
“(5) Geographic isolation often compounds the problems facing sexual assault victims. The lack of anonymity and accessible support services can limit opportunities for justice for victims.
“(6) Domestic elder abuse is primarily family abuse. The National Elder Abuse Incidence Study found that the perpetrator was a family member in 90 percent of cases.
“(7) Barriers for older victims leaving abusive relationships include—
“(A) the inability to support themselves;
“(B) poor health that increases their dependence on the abuser;
“(C) fear of being placed in a nursing home; and
“(D) ineffective responses by domestic abuse programs and law enforcement.
“(8) Disabled women comprise another vulnerable population with unmet needs. Women with disabilities are more likely to be the victims of abuse and violence than women without disabilities because of their increased physical, economic, social, or psychological dependence on others.
“(9) Many women with disabilities also fail to report the abuse, since they are dependent on their abusers and fear being abandoned or institutionalized.
“(10) Of the 598 battered women's programs surveyed—
“(A) only 35 percent of these programs offered disability awareness training for their staff; and
“(B) only 16 percent dedicated a staff member to provide services to women with disabilities.
“(11) Problems of domestic violence are exacerbated for immigrants when spouses control the immigration status of their family members, and abusers use threats of refusal to file immigration papers and threats to deport spouses and children as powerful tools to prevent battered immigrant women from seeking help, trapping battered immigrant women in violent homes because of fear of deportation.
“(12) Battered immigrant women who attempt to flee abusive relationships may not have access to bilingual shelters or bilingual professionals, and face restrictions on public or financial assistance. They may also lack assistance of a certified interpreter in court, when reporting complaints to the police or a 9–1–1 operator, or even in acquiring information about their rights and the legal system.
“(13) More than 500 men and women call the National Domestic Violence Hotline every day to get immediate, informed, and confidential assistance to help deal with family violence.
“(14) The National Domestic Violence Hotline service is available, toll-free, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, with bilingual staff, access to translators in 150 languages, and a TTY line for the hearing-impaired.
“(15) With access to over 5,000 shelters and service providers across the United States, Puerto Rico, and the United States Virgin Islands, the National Domestic Violence Hotline provides crisis intervention and immediately connects callers with sources of help in their local community.
“(16) Approximately 60 percent of the callers indicate that calling the Hotline is their first attempt to address a domestic violence situation and that they have not called the police or any other support services.
“(17) Between 2000 and 2003, there was a 27 percent increase in call volume at the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
“(18) Improving technology infrastructure at the National Domestic Violence Hotline and training advocates, volunteers, and other staff on upgraded technology will drastically increase the Hotline's ability to answer more calls quickly and effectively.”
Pub. L. 109–162, title III, §301, Jan. 5, 2006, 119 Stat. 3003, provided that: “Congress finds the following:
“(1) Youth, under the age of 18, account for 67 percent of all sexual assault victimizations reported to law enforcement officials.
“(2) The Department of Justice consistently finds that young women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rate of non-fatal intimate partner violence.
“(3) In 1 year, over 4,000 incidents of rape or sexual assault occurred in public schools across the country.
“(4) Young people experience particular obstacles to seeking help. They often do not have access to money, transportation, or shelter services. They must overcome issues such as distrust of adults, lack of knowledge about available resources, or pressure from peers and parents.
“(5) A needs assessment on teen relationship abuse for the State of California, funded by the California Department of Health Services, identified a desire for confidentiality and confusion about the law as 2 of the most significant barriers to young victims of domestic and dating violence seeking help.
“(6) Only one State specifically allows for minors to petition the court for protection orders.
“(7) Many youth are involved in dating relationships, and these relationships can include the same kind of domestic violence and dating violence seen in the adult population. In fact, more than 40 percent of all incidents of domestic violence involve people who are not married.
“(8) 40 percent of girls ages 14 to 17 report knowing someone their age who has been hit or beaten by a boyfriend, and 13 percent of college women report being stalked.
“(9) Of college women who said they had been the victims of rape or attempted rape, 12.8 percent of completed rapes, 35 percent of attempted rapes, and 22.9 percent of threatened rapes took place on a date. Almost 60 percent of the completed rapes that occurred on campus took place in the victim's residence.
“(10) According to a 3-year study of student-athletes at 10 Division I universities, male athletes made up only 3.3 percent of the general male university population, but they accounted for 19 percent of the students reported for sexual assault and 35 percent of domestic violence perpetrators.”