'Best practices' reports to combat domestic violence are specialized, not comprehensive
The Obama administration has launched a series of federal efforts aimed at combating violence against women.
But a comprehensive report on "best practices" across agencies, disseminated to states, isn't among them.
States are key because they're home to most criminal law related to domestic violence.
When we asked about this claim, the administration pointed us to narrower "best practices" documents, such as a Justice Department guide on civil protective orders released in October 2010.
Agencies also supported grant-funded projects that don't speak for the federal government.
For example, the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence published a "Runaway & Homeless Youth and Relationship Violence Toolkit," funded by a Health and Human Services grant, while the National Online Resource Center on Violence Against Women produced, "Enhanced Services to Children and Youth Exposed to Domestic Violence: Promising Practices & Lessons Learned," supported by funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The president"s original campaign document noted that, "the eradication of this major public health problem will require a coordinated effort from at least three governmental departments: health, education and justice. … Sexual violence is a complex multi-system problem. No one agency can address all of the issues comprehensively.”
The solution, according to candidates Barack Obama and Joe Biden, was to appoint a special adviser on issues related to violence against women who would coordinate efforts across federal agencies — and "also issue a joint report on ‘best practices" across agencies and disseminate that information to the states.”
They did appoint a special adviser to the president. But the "best practices” effort remains specialized, such as a project from Health and Human Services on economic empowerment for domestic violence survivors.
The administration can point to a wide range of best-practices reports geared toward combating domestic violence. But that falls short of the original promise to provide a comprehensive, cross-agency guide to help coordinate a national response.
We rate this a Compromise.
Email interview with Office of the Vice President, Nov. 8-12, 2012
White House, "The Obama Administration"s Commitment to Combating Violence Against Women," accessed Nov. 8, 2012
White House Council on Women and Girls, "Keeping America's Women Moving Forward," April 2012
Department of Health and Human Services, "Violence Against Women," updated May 18, 2011
Obameter, "Appoint a special adviser to the president on violence against women," updated Sept. 18, 2009
Obameter, "Fully fund the Violence Against Women Act," updated April 23, 2010
Domestic Violence Evidence Project, "Publications," accessed Nov. 12, 2012
National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, "Runaway & Homeless Youth and Relationship Violence Toolkit," accessed Nov. 12, 2012
National Online Resource Center on Violence Against Women, "Special Collection: Enhanced Services to Children and Youth Exposed to Domestic Violence: Promising Practices & Lessons Learned," accessed Nov. 12, 2012
National Online Resource Center on Violence Against Women, "Meeting Survivors' Needs Study Resource Page," accessed Nov. 12, 2012
National Online Resource Center on Violence Against Women, "Special Collection: Building Collaborations Between Healthy Marriage & Relationship Education and Domestic Violence Programs," accessed Nov. 12, 2012
National Online Resource Center on Violence Against Women, "National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges: A Guide for Effective Issuance & Enforcement of Protection Orders," accessed Nov. 12, 2012
National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma & Mental Health, "Practical Tools for Domestic Violence Advocates," accessed Nov. 12, 2012
Save Havens, "Enhancing Safety for Children and Adult Victims," accessed Nov. 12, 2012
National Consumer Law Center and Center for Survivor Agency and Justice, "Consumer Rights Screening Tool for Domestic Violence Advocates and Lawyers," 2001
Department of Justice's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, "Acquaintance Rape of College Students," Sept. 21, 2011
Money for fighting domestic violence is up, but no signs of a report
During the presidential campaign, Barack Obama promised to "issue a joint report on 'best practices' on reducing domestic violence and disseminate that information to the states."
While his administration has devoted new funds to combat violence against women, there is no sign that a best-practices report is under way.
The economic stimulus bill provided $225 million to support five grant programs run by the Office on Violence Against Women, the part of the Justice Department charged with implementing the Violence Against Women Act. These include funding for prevention programs and transitional housing, but we could not locate any provision authorizing a best-practices report.
Meanwhile, the administration requested $429.7 million in regular funding for the Office on Violence Against Women in fiscal year 2010, up slightly from $429.0 million in 2009. In the final appropriations bill signed by the president, the office actually received a decrease in funds -- $418 million -- though that was more than offset by the increase provided in the stimulus bill.
The most specific progress toward this promise may actually be a pair of bills -- one in the Senate by Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and one in the House by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla.-- that would expand a "workplace clearinghouse" provision, which compiles best practices for employers on handling domestic violence. The provision would make it possible to include additional victim-services providers and state-based coalitions.
But neither bill has made it out of committee yet. So, while the Obama administration has, on balance, increased the amount of funding for domestic violence programs, there is no evidence that it has begun work on a best-practices report for states. So we rate this promise Stalled.
Justice Department, "
Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by Associate Attorney General Tom Perrelli on the First 100 Days of Recovery Act at Law Enforcement Symposium on Violence Against Women
," May 27, 2009
Justice Department, fiscal 2010 budget proposal for the Office on Violence Against Women , accessed Dec. 23, 2009
Justice Department, Office on Violence Against Women plan for American Recovery and Reinvestment Act , May 15, 2009
CQ House Action Reports, " Omnibus Appropriations for FY 2010 ," Dec. 9, 2009
Sen. Patrick Leahy, "Leahy Introduces Bill To Strengthen Violence Against Women Act" ( news release ), Jan. 26, 2009
THOMAS, bill summary page for S. 327, accessed Dec. 23, 2009
THOMAS, bill summary page for H.R. 3401, accessed Dec. 23, 2009
Text of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act