The role of Violence Against Women Act in addressing intimate partner violence: a public health issue

J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2014 Mar;23(3):253-9. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2013.4387. Epub 2013 Dec 3.


Intimate partner violence (IPV) is defined as violence committed by a current or former boyfriend or girlfriend, spouse or ex-spouse. Each year, 1.3 to 5.3 million women in the United States experience IPV. The large number of individuals affected, the enormous healthcare costs, and the need for a multidisciplinary approach make IPV an important healthcare issue. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) addresses domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. It emphasizes development of coordinated community care among law enforcement, prosecutors, victim services, and attorneys. VAWA was not reauthorized in 2012 because it lacked bipartisan support. VAWA 2013 contains much needed new provisions for Native Americans; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gay, and queer (LGBTQ) individuals; and victims of human trafficking but does not address the large amount of intimate partner violence in America's immigrant population. There are important remaining issues regarding intimate partner violence that need to be addressed by future legislation. This review examines the role of legislation and addresses proposals for helping victims of IPV.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Crime Victims / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Female
  • Government Regulation*
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Public Health*
  • Public Policy*
  • Sexual Partners
  • Spouse Abuse / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • United States
  • Vulnerable Populations
  • Women's Health