VAWA Reauthorization Act of 2022

VAWA Reauthorization Act of 2022
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On March 15, 2022, President Biden signed the 2,741-page Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022, enacting provisons of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Reauthorization Act of 2022 that:

  • Expand the scope of the audience and topics covered by prevention education programs in K-12 schools and institutions of higher education (IHEs);
  • Increase grant funding for many education programs to prevent domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, and sexual coercion (“VAWA offenses”);
  • Require IHEs that receive federal student aid funds to administer a standardized campus climate survey every two years; and
  • Create a task force to study Title IX enforcement, including imposing fines for Title IX violations.

Higher Ed Campus Climate Surveys

[Consolidated Appropriations Act 2022, Sec. 1507: Online Survey Tool for Campus Safety]

The VAWA Reauthorization Act of 2022 requires the Department of Education to consult with the Attorney General, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Secretary of Health and Human Services to develop a standardized online survey tool for institutions to gather data about student experiences with domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, sexual harassment, and stalking, including questions designed to gather information about

  • Student experiences with sexual and relationship violence
  • The impact of sexual and relationship violence 
  • The impact and effectiveness of prevention and awareness programs, and complaint processes
  • Student attitudes toward interpersonal violence, including willingness to intervene as a bystander to sex-based, gender-based, race-based, national origin-based, discrimination or harassment, and sexual and relationship violence

Additionally,

  • The survey tool must include a mechanism that allows institutions to administer the survey tool and modify it to include additional elements or requirements.
  • Institutions will be required to deliver the survey within one year of the instrument’s development and release by the Department of Education and every two years thereafter and ensure an appropriate sample size as determined by the Secretary of Education.
  • The Department of Education will prepare a biennial report of the survey results that includes campus-level data that permits comparisons across institutions and campuses. This report must be submitted to Congress and each institution must post the campus-level results of the standardized elements for campuses affiliated with the institution on its website.
1 See the March 16, 2022 Fact Sheet issued by the White House.

Prevention Education Authorized for VAWA Grant Funds

The VAWA Reauthorization Act of 2022 added a smorgasbord of audiences and topics for prevention education programs that qualify for grant funds, with a specific focus on preventing VAWA offenses and Title IX violations in education and health care, as follows:

Audience: Higher Ed Health Care Providers and Students

Medical, psychology, dental, social work, nursing, and other health profession students, interns, residents, fellows or current health care providers (including midwives and doulas)

Prevention Education

Interdisciplinary training and education to prevent and respond to VAWA offenses, including how to:

  • Provide universal education on healthy relationships
  • Provide trauma-informed health care services (including mental or behavioral health care services and referrals) to someone who has experienced a VAWA offense
  • Be inclusive of each person’s experiences, including LGBTQ individuals
  • Improve equity and reduce disparities in access to health care services and prevention resources
  • Use a universal prevention education approach to both prevent and respond to VAWA offenses in health care settings

42 USC § 280g-4. Grants to strengthen the healthcare system’s response to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking

$20M for each FY 2023-2027 (at least 10 percent shall be made available for historically Black colleges and universities)

Audience: Campus health centers, appropriate campus faculty, and professionals who deal with students on a daily basis, higher education students

Training on how to:

  • Recognize and respond to VAWA offenses
  • Educate the campus community on unhealthy relationships and the impacts of violence on a person’s health
  • Support ongoing outreach efforts

Audience: Campus personnel

Training on victim-centered, trauma-informed interview techniques for someone who has experienced intimate partner/sexual violence

 

2 Daniel Zapp, Robert Buelow, et al. “Exploring the Potential Campus-Level Impact of Online Universal Sexual Assault Prevention Education.” Journal of Interpersonal Violence, Vol. 36(5-6) (2018): NP2324-NP2345. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0886260518762449  

Audience: All Higher Ed Students

Prevention/education programming that covers VAWA offenses, technological abuse, and reproductive and sexual coercion; is developed in partnership or collaboratively with experts in intimate partner and sexual violence prevention and intervention; and is:

  • Age Appropriate,
  • Culturally Relevant, 
  • Ongoing, 
  • Delivered in Multiple Venues on Campus, 
  • Accessible, 
  • Promotes Respectful Nonviolent Behavior as a Social Norm, and
  • Engages Men and Boys

34 USC § 20125. Grants to combat violent crimes on campuses

$15M for each FY 2023-2027

Task Force on Title IX Enforcement

[Consolidated Appropriations Act 2022, Sec. 1314]

The VAWA Reauthorization Act of 2022 require that the Secretary of Education, Secretary of Health and Human Services, and the Attorney General establish a joint interagency task force (“Task Force on Sexual Violence in Education”) by September 1, 2022, to provide recommendations for K-12 schools and higher education institutions on

  • Establishing sexual assault prevention and response teams;
  • Providing survivor resources;
  • Best practices for responses to and prevention of sexual violence and dating violence;
  • Sex education, training for school staff, and equitable discipline models; and
  • Culturally responsive and inclusive approaches to supporting survivors.

The Task Force would also assess the Department of Education’s ability to assess fines for Title IX noncompliance, and submit recommendations to Congress for assembling a highly-qualified workforce in the Department of Education to investigate Title IX complaints, and make recommendations to the Department of Education on imposing fines for Title IX noncompliance.

Conclusion

The most significant change in the VAWA Reauthorization Act of 2022 is the requirement that institutions deliver mandatory, ED-authored campus climate surveys. 

With the exception of this provision, and those that create task forces, the prevention education requirements in the VAWA Reauthorization Act of 2022 only apply to those schools and institutions that receive grant funds. However, these provisions make clear that prevention education is a priority of the current administration and that future Title IX regulations or other regulatory action by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights will likely emphasize prevention to address Title IX and VAWA offenses committed by or against students and employees in K-12 schools and IHEs that receive federal funding.  

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