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Violence Against Women Act

In our country’s legislative history, there has been an evolution of bills and laws that grant greater protection and resources to victims of violence and discrimination. One such law is the Violence Against Women Act, which was passed in 1994. The Act was the product of a compromise of bills introduced by Rep. Pat Schroeder, D-CO, and Joe Biden, D-DE.

Provisions of the Act

Under the Violence Against Women Act new penalties were established for gender-related violence and new grants programs encouraging states to address domestic violence and sexual assault. The Act established funds for:

  • Grants to encourage arrest
  • Battered women’s shelters
  • Support of the National Domestic Violence Hotline
  • Rural domestic violence and child abuse enforcement grants

Defining Domestic Violence

Since the passage of the VAWA into law, a domestic violence misdemeanor is defined as a crime committed by “an intimate partner, parent, or guardian of the victim that required the use or attempted use of physical force or the threatened use of a deadly weapon.” The term intimate partner is used to describe a spouse, former spouse, a person who shares a child in common with the victim, or a person who cohabits or has cohabited with the victim.

Changes in the VAWA

Before 2000, a victim of domestic abuse could sue his or her perpetrator for damages in civil lawsuit under the provisions of the Violence Against Women Act. In the United States Supreme Court case Bronzala v. Morrison, the court ruled that Congress did not have the authority to implement such a law. However, victims of a sexual assault including rape, attempted rape, and molestation, can still recover damages from their assailant in civil court.

Speak with a Racine Sexual Assault Attorney

If you or someone you know has been the victim of a sexual assault, you have the right to make your attacker pay. Contact the Racine sexual assault lawyers of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ® at 800.682.3434 to speak to an attorney who will fight for justice.