The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was enacted in 1994 to raise awareness of domestic violence and assault crimes against women. VAWA applies to all American citizens regardless of gender or sexual orientation. VAWA has been amended and modified several times since 1994, always requiring institutions to review and update their current policies and procedures to comply with the new requirements for handling sexual violence on campus.
Colleges and universities must follow this legislation, if they are deemed non-compliant, it can result in significant fines.
Under VAWA, higher education institutions are required to do the following:
Report domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking (beyond crime categories the Clery Act already mandates).
Adopt certain student disciplinary procedures, such as procedurals for notifying purported victims of their rights.
Adopt certain institutional policies to address and prevent campus sexual violence, such as to train, in particular, institutional personnel.
In 2013, President Obama reauthorized VAWA and amended it with the Campus SaVE (SaVE) Act to increase transparency requirements for higher education institutions, guarantee rights for survivors, form disciplinary standards, and require education prevention programs campus-wide.
To learn more about the SaVE Act, please click here.
“One of the greatest legacies of this law is that is didn’t just change the rules; it changed our culture. It empowered people to start speaking out. And it made clear to victims that they were not alone – that they always had a place to go and they always had people on their side.”