Today the Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) announced nine new research projects—the first in its Research and Evaluation Initiative launched earlier this year. All nine awards focus on learning more about effective approaches for doing the life-saving work authorized through the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and examine specific issues related to victims from underserved and marginalized populations.
The Research and Evaluation Initiative emphasizes researcher-practitioner partnerships that can identify effective strategies and lead to sustainable ways of responding to sexual assault, domestic and dating violence and stalking, and reducing the harmful impact of these crimes on victims and communities.
“These new research and evaluation studies are critical because they focus on issues that are extremely understudied – such as culturally-specific programs for Latina victims, the effects of victimization on incarcerated women, restorative justice and gender bias,” said OVW Principal Deputy Director Bea Hanson, Ph.D. “The more we identify approaches and models that effectively work with specific populations, the more effective we can be in helping victims find the justice they need and deserve.”
OVW’s Research and Evaluation Initiative is developing a comprehensive understanding of what we know about the effectiveness of approaches funded by the VAWA and determine which practices require a closer look and further study.
The nine studies are:
1. University of California, Los Angeles, $399,998: A study of the effects of violence and victimization on incarcerated women and an evaluation of a program designed to reduce the recurrence of violence and victimization in their lives.
2. Washington University, $379,980: An evaluation of an approach to using cognitive processing therapy in rape crisis centers.
3. Community Health and Social Services Center, $348,339: A study of how a culturally-specific program for Latina victims of domestic and sexual violence meets victims’ self-defined needs.
4. University of New Hampshire, $398,857: A study of a trauma-informed residential program for victims of domestic violence who struggle with substance use disorders.
5. International Rescue Committee Inc., $314,666: A study of the experiences, service needs and help-seeking strategies of refugees, asylum-seekers and other newly-arrived immigrants who are victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
6. University of Kentucky Research Foundation, $499,999: An examination of the healing and self-sufficiency benefits of an agriculture-based program for residents of a domestic violence shelter.
7. Portland State University, $400,000: A study of patterns and disparities in the family court experiences of litigants from cultural and linguistic minority groups.
8. Sam Houston State University, $393,049: An evaluation of a training program for all sworn law enforcement personnel in an urban police department on the Justice Department’s guidance on gender-bias policing.
9. Fund for the City of New York, $271,720: A survey of programs that use restorative justice to address domestic violence and the development of guidelines for these programs. Restorative justice seeks to rehabilitate offenders through reconciliation with the people and communities they have victimized.
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OVW provides leadership in developing the nation’s capacity to reduce violence against women through the implementation of VAWA and subsequent legislation. Created in 1995, OVW administers financial and technical assistance to communities across the country that are developing programs, policies and practices aimed at ending domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. In addition to overseeing 21 federal grant programs, OVW often undertakes initiatives in response to special needs identified by communities facing acute challenges.