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  • Violence Against Women Act

  • Violence Against Women Act

    The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), passed as part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, Pub. L. 103-322, Title IV, 40221(a), 108 Stat. 1926, created Federal statutes to prosecute domestic violence in certain situations involving firearms or interstate travel or activity.

    While domestic violence remains primarily a matter of State and local jurisdiction, prosecutors are encouraged to use the criminal provisions of VAWA in appropriate cases.

    Factors to be considered are 1) the adequacy of State penalties for domestic violence; for example, out-dated statutes or early parole may provide an inadequate remedy; 2) the interstate nature of the particular offense may make it difficult for local law enforcement to gather evidence from another State; and 3) the potential release of the defendant on bond since some States do not have pre-trial detention statutes.

    Prosecutors are reminded that 18 U.S.C. 2263 requires that at any detention hearing held pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 3142, the "victim shall be given an opportunity to be heard regarding the danger posed by the defendant."

    Essential to the effective implementation of the VAWA provisions is coordination with and education of State and local officials. Efforts should be made through your violent crime working groups or Law Enforcement Coordinating Committees to educate state and local counterparts on these provisions, as their assistance, particularly in working with local judges to fashion domestic violence protective orders, is critical.

    Violations of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), 18 U.S.C. 2261 et seq., are investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The Department of Treasury's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) has primary investigative jurisdiction for offenses under the Federal firearms statute (18 U.S.C. 922); however, the FBI may exercise investigative jurisdiction over violations of this statute when such violations are ancillary to investigations within its jurisdiction.

    The Terrorism and Violent Crime Section (TVCS) exercises supervisory authority over the criminal enforcement aspect of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) statutes. Appropriate attorneys in TVCS can be reached at (202) 514-0849

    This information came from a
    US DOJ online article.

    *** Any law, statute, regulation or other precedent is subject to change at any time ***

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