The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA): Historical Overview, Funding, and Reauthorization

Source: Lisa N. Sacco, Congressional Research Service, CRS Report, R45410, April 23, 2019

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was originally enacted in 1994 (P.L. 103-322). It addressed congressional concerns about violent crime, and violence against women in particular, in several ways. Among other things, it allowed for enhanced sentencing of repeat federal sex offenders; mandated restitution to victims of specified federal sex offenses; and authorized grants to state, local, and tribal law enforcement entities to investigate and prosecute violent crimes against women.

This report provides a brief history of VAWA and an overview of the crimes addressed through the act. It includes brief descriptions of earlier VAWA reauthorizations and a more-detailed description of the most recent reauthorization in 2013. It also briefly addresses reauthorization activity in the 116th Congress. The report concludes with a discussion of VAWA programs and a five-year history of funding from FY2015 through FY2019.