Thursday, October 30th, 2014

The Obameter

Fully fund the Violence Against Women Act

Provide "funds to help communities, nonprofit organizations and police combat domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking."

Updates

Significant increases fulfill the promise

Back in December 2009, we reported on President Barack Obama's efforts to increase funding for the Office on Violence Against Women. Part of the Justice Department, the bureau is tasked with implementing the Violence Against Women Act by steering financial and technical assistance to communities that are developing programs to help women who have been victims of violence.

At the time, we rated the promise In the Works, since Obama had not yet signed the 2010 budget, which would increase the level of funding -- or so we thought. It turns out that in the midst of the holiday season, we fell a little behind the schedule. On December 16, 2009, a day before we posted our rating, Obama signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2010, which provided funding to various departments, including the Justice Department. Congress gave OVAW $418.5 million, $29.5 million more than in 2009. Of specific focus were the STOP (Services, Training, Officers, and Prosecutors) program, the sexual assault victims services, and civil legal assistance programs for abused women, which received $210 million, $15 million and $41 million, respectively.

By this point, the Obama administration has released its 2011 budget request, so we thought we'd take a look. According to the Office of Management and Budget, the 2011 budget "includes $538 million, an increase of $120 million, to support women victims of violence, including domestic abuse and sexual assault victims."

Obama increased funding for the Violence Against Women Act in his 2010 budget and asked for further increases in 2011.

Promise Kept.

Sources:

Committees on Appropriations, Summary: FY 2010 Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations , Accessed April 6, 2010.

The Office of Management and Budget, Department of Justice 2011 Budget Overview, Accessed April 6, 2010.

The White House, Bills Signed by the President, December 16, 2009.

More money to fund Violence Against Women Act

During the campaign, Barack Obama promised to "help communities, nonprofit organizations and police combat domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking" by fully funding the Violence Against Women Act.

The Violence Against Women Act was passed by Congress in 1994 as part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. Reauthorized in 2000 and 2005, its purpose is to "improve criminal justice responses to domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking and to increase the availability of services for victims of these crimes." In 1995, the Office on Violence Against Women was created under the U.S. Department of Justice to help implement VAWA provisions by steering financial and technical assistance to communities that are developing programs to help women who have been victims of violence.

In 2009, Congress appropriated $389 billion for programs that are administered by the Office on Violence Against Women. The conference report bill drafted by lawmakers in December that would allocate money for the organization in 2010 provides $418.5 million--a $29.5 million increase. Congress specifically increased the amount of money going to STOP (Services, Training, Officers, and Prosecutors) grants, sexual assault victims services, and civil legal assistance.

The House and Senate still have to vote on the final version of the bill, which President Obama then has to sign before it becomes a law. Until then, we rate this one In the Works.

Sources:

Committee on Appropriations, Summary: FY 2010 Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations , Accessed December 17, 2009.

Committee on Appropriations, Summary: FY 2009 Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations , Accessed December 17, 2009.

U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women: Budget Tables , Accessed December 17, 2009.