U.S. Department of Justice: Rural Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence and Stalking Program
The U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), implements the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and subsequent legislation and provides national leadership on issues of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. Victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking in rural communities face unique challenges and barriers to receiving assistance rarely encountered in urban areas. The geographic isolation, transportation barriers, economic structure, strong social and cultural pressures, and lack of available services in rural jurisdictions significantly compound the problems confronted by those seeking support and services to end the violence in their lives. These factors also complicate the ability of the criminal justice system to investigate and prosecute sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking cases. In addition, socio-cultural, economic, and geographic barriers make it difficult for victim services providers to identify and assist victims of these crimes.
The primary purpose of the Rural Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence and Stalking Program (Rural Program) is to enhance the safety of rural victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking and support projects uniquely designed to address and prevent these crimes in rural areas. OVW welcomes applications that propose innovative solutions to achieving this goal and encourages collaboration among criminal justice agencies, victim services providers, social services agencies, health professionals, and other community organizations to overcome the problems of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking in rural communities. OVW also recognizes the richness of diversity in rural communities and areas across the country, and encourages applicants to implement innovative approaches, through capacity-building and partnerships, to address the critical needs of victims in a manner that affirms a victim’s culture, effectively addresses language and communication barriers, and ensures accessible services for all victims.
Funds under the Rural Program may be used for the following statutory purposes:
- To identify, assess and appropriately respond to child, youth, and adult victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking in rural communities, by encouraging collaboration among sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking victim service providers; law enforcement agencies; prosecutors; courts; other criminal justice service providers; human and community service providers; educational institutions; and health care providers, including sexual assault forensic examiners;
- To establish and expand nonprofit, nongovernmental, state, tribal, territorial, and local government victim services in rural communities to child, youth, and adult victims; and/or
- To increase the safety and well-being of women and children in rural communities by:
- dealing directly and immediately with sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking occurring in rural communities; and
- creating and implementing strategies to increase awareness and prevent sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and/or stalking.
Priority areas include:
- Improve services for and/or the response to victims of sex trafficking and other severe forms of trafficking in persons who have also experienced domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, or stalking
- Increase support for survivors of sexual assault, including services, law enforcement response, and prosecution
- Meaningfully increase access to OVW programming for specific marginalized and/or underserved populations (based on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, age, etc.)
Amount: Continuation applications are eligible for $750,000 for a 36-month award period; new applications are eligible for $500,000 for a 36-month award period.
Eligibility: States; Indian tribes; territories; local governments; and nonprofit (public or private) entities, including tribal nonprofit organizations.
Note: The terms “rural area” and “rural community” as: (a) any area or community, respectively, no part of which is within an area designated as a standard metropolitan statistical area by the Office of Management and Budget; (b) any area or community, respectively, that is (i) within an area designated as a metropolitan statistical area or considered as part of a metropolitan statistical area; and located in a rural census tract; or (c) any federally recognized Indian tribe. The program must distribute at least 75% of the total amount of funding made available to eligible entities located in “rural states.” These include: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, Wyoming and the U.S. Territories: American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and Virgin Islands.
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