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Key protections in the Violence Against Women Act

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) became law in 1994. The US Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice are in charge of this program, which seeks to improve how federal, state, local and tribal governments handle crimes against women.

The legislature is responsible for voting on the act every five years. They also handle the Violence Against Women Act funding. These are the protections found in the act.


Women who fall under the VAWA have the right to the strictest confidentiality. Their survivor status is strictly confidential. Landlords may receive this information, but they must keep the information from others. This confidentiality also applies to housing applications for any member of the household. Women under this act must provide consent for their housing providers to break their confidentiality protections.


Under the VAWA, women who have experienced domestic violence qualify for HUD-subsidized housing. Homeowners cannot evict these individuals, and the government cannot stop their assistance. They can also receive assistance if they move to other locations.

Law enforcement assistance

Women also have the right to law enforcement protections. They can call at any time without penalization due to their victim status. They also receive protection from intimidation and retaliation.

Housing transfers

If a victim of domestic violence feels threatened for any reason, that individual can request a transfer to another location or home. These transfers involve the perception of imminent harm or violence. Sexual violence in the home is another reason for a transfer. If possible, the victim can receive the transfer without the process involved for a new applicant.

For those impacted by domestic or sexual violence, the VAWA provides a way out. These individuals should look up the act to learn more about all the protections available.