VAWA Bars Discrimination Based on Gender or Sexual Orientation

 The Violence Against Women Re-authorization Act of 2013 (VAWA 2013) has bared discrimination against any form of gender identity or sexual orientation “as well as race, color, religion, national origin, sex or disability.”

The statement was made public in a press release posted by the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) on the Department of Justice website on recently entitled, “VAWA 2013 Nondiscrimination Provision: Making Programs Accessible to all Victims of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, and Stalking.”

“This groundbreaking provision will ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking are not denied, on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, access to the critical services that OVW supports,” the statement noted.

The non-discrimination provision, which took effect on October 1, 2013, will apply to all awards that the OVW will make during the fiscal year and in the future.

Furthermore, the department “released a “Frequently Asked Questions” – or “FAQs” – to help our grantees better understand what their obligations will be under the nondiscrimination provision. These FAQs include important guidance, including information about the scope of the new requirement, how it affects operations of a grantee that are not funded by OVW, when a grantee may provide sex-specific or sex-segregated services, and how to provide such services without discriminating against transgender victims.”

It is expected that the FAQs will answer many of the grantees questions and give them fresh insight into how to make their programs accessible to all victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking.

The department, however, acknowledge the fact that the FAQ might not necessarily answer all questions; it therefore, urged grantees, who might have more questions or comments about the nondiscrimination grant condition and how it applies to their to reach out to the Office of Civil Rights in the Office of Justice Programs at VAWAcivilrights@usdoj.gov. “We know that these FAQs do not address all questions that may arise about the new provision,” it noted.

The OVW looks forward to working with its entire grantee community to ensure that its programming meets the unique needs of every victim and survivor in the 2014 Fiscal Year.

The department which showed its gratitude for the passing of the re-authorization of VAWA last year stated: “Last year, we worked together in passing the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA 2013). New provisions in VAWA 2013 include measures that will strengthen our national response to sexual assault, focus attention on reducing domestic violence homicides, and recognize the needs of younger girls who are victimized.”

 

 

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