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Controlling Violence Against Women: A Research Perspective on the 1994 VAWA's Criminal Justice Impacts

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2002
100 pages
This report presents an overview of the history of the violence against women movement with emphasis on the passage of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA) and its criminal justice components and expectations. It discusses the research fostered under VAWA on violence against women and its prevention, reviews research findings on VAWA’s preventive impacts, and discusses VAWA’s promise to conduct future research on effective controls and how existing research can guide policy makers and practitioners in promoting resources in the prevention of violence against women.

In 1994, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was signed into law in response to violent crimes against women and criminalizing acts of domestic violence and violations of protective orders for women. In addition, it sought to strengthen criminal justice responses to all violent crimes against women. VAWA calls for research to inform policy and evaluate practices meant to prevent violence against women. In this report funded by the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, an examination is conducted on the research side of the original legislation, paying particular attention to the current state of knowledge on violence reduction through criminal justice interventions based on what has been learned from evaluations fostered by VAWA. The report is divided into four sections. The first begins with a review of the history of the violence against women movement and recent research supporting the passage of VAWA. The criminal justice components and the popular expectations for their preventive impacts on violence against women are highlighted. In the second section an outline is presented on a research perspective on VAWA impacts, followed by a description of VAWA’s criminal justice components subject to research and evaluation. The third section describes VAWA’s impact and influence on research in the area of criminal justice interventions and their impact on prevention, reducing violence against women. The final section concludes with a discussion of what is known based on the impacts of VAWA and where future VAWA research can take us in controlling violence against women. VAWA’s programs to protect women from violence have presented the research community with exceptional opportunities to evaluate preventive impacts and to lend scientific authority to criminal justice policies. VAWA is seen as having the ability to make a difference in preventing violence against women. References, appendix, and exhibits

Date Published: July 1, 2002