Executive SummaryState and
Change and the Violence Against Women Act
MaltzSusan MartinJoseph TargonskiSeptember 12,2001The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), incorporated in the Violent Crime Controland Law Enforcement Act of 1994, was intended to bolster the ability of lawenforcement departments, prosecutors, and private nonprofit victim assistanceorganizations to increase services to women victims of violence, to better assure victimsafety and to increase offender accountability. The language of VAWA suggests thatthese impacts were intended to be achieved through three primary mechanisms:strategic leadership by the federal government to increase coordination among federal,state, and local and tribal agencies, federal funding for policing, prosecution, and victimservices, and statutory changes allowing for a more active role on the part of
Attorneys in cases involving violence against women.After VAWA was enacted, the federal government established a national hotline, aViolence Against Women Office, and a national Advisory Council on Violence AgainstWomen. By the end of 2000, grants exceeding $1 billion had been made to public andprivate organizations concerned with violence against women.LlNC in cooperation with a team of senior researchers carried out a study sponsored bythe Violence Against Women Office, under the supervision of the National Institute ofJustice, to examine what, if any, difference VAWA actually had on steps taken forreducing violence against women The intent of the study was to explore influences ofVAWA on state and local processes and outcomes, above and beyond fiscalconsequences. Grounded in theories of social movements, the LlNC research isrelevant more generally to factors that foster or retard the impact of federal legislationand funding on state and local processes.This report presents three types of findings:Findings about some major influences VAWA had on state and localapproaches for dealing with violence against women. These are likely tobe of import to policy-makers involved in enacting and implementingfederal legislation.i/Executive SummaryIState and Local Change and VAWA/LINC/September 2001
This document is a research report submitted to the U.S. Department of Justice. This report hasnot been published by the Department. Opinions or points of view expressed are those of theauthor(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official position or policies of the U.S. Department ofJustice.