Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Law and Legal Definition

Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is a broad-based law formulated in 1994 in response to the increasing violence against women in America. The Act has provisions starting from funding of domestic-violence programs to new civil rights remedies for women who were victims of gender-based attacks.

VAWA provides for education, research, treatment of domestic and sex-crime victims, creation of rape crisis centers and battered women's shelters. The Act also authorizes additional local police, prosecutors, victim advocates, and a domestic violence hotline to check the increasing violence. It distributed funds to increase safety for women on public transportation, for shelters, and for youth education programs. Funds were also made available to provide special training for judges who hear domestic violence cases. VAWA in short expanded rape shield laws, created offenses for interstate spousal abuse, and allowed victims of gender-based crimes to sue those responsible in federal court.