In 1994, Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) as Title IV of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act (P.L. 103-322). This event marked a turning point in the federal recognition of the extent and seriousness of violence against women, and a commitment to address the problem by utilizing federal resources. One component of the Act was the development of the STOP (Services, Training, Officers, Prosecutors) formula grant program. The intent of the VAWA STOP Grant program is to develop and strengthen effective law enforcement and prosecution strategies and victim services in cases involving violent crimes against women. For additional information regarding the VAWA Act, please visit The US Department of Justice's website for Violence Against Women.

Administered through the Executive Office of Public Safety, the VAWA Program promotes a coordinated and integrated approach to improving the criminal justice system's response to violence against women, with a partnership among law enforcement, prosecution, courts, and non-profit victims programs. Since 1995, more than 200 Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) STOP Grant programs have been funded through the Executive Office of Public Safety.

With the help of this grant program, many police departments are helping to break the cycle of violence by educating themselves on the complexities of domestic violence. In part, this has been done by:

  • Training officers on domestic violence/sexual assault/stalking victims issues.
  • Teaching officers intervention methods to support women victims and their children who have witnessed domestic violence incidents.
  • Training officers in domestic violence incident report writing and photographic evidence collection, which is important in all cases but is especially critical in those cases where victims are reluctant to testify.

The STOP grant has made it possible for police departments to provide follow up investigations and implement innovative programs such as Rapid Response Teams with the aid of civilian advocates stationed in police departments and collaborations with battered women's programs. In addition, VAWA funds allow multiple agencies to coordinate their efforts to combat domestic violence and sexual assault through enforcement teams that actively pursue those individuals who are most likely to commit repeat offenses.

 


If you would like additional information regarding this grant, please contact Candice McKenna, Senior Program Manager, at 617.725.3305 or e-mail at candice.mckenna@state.ma.us.