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Justice for Victims. Justice for All.
Office for Victims of Crime
2013 OVC Report to the Nation: Fiscal Years 2011-2012 'Transforming Today's Vision into Tomorrow's Reality'
Report to the Nation Home  |  Message From the Director  |  Exhibits

Domestic Violence

Photo of a woman sitting on the floor with her hands over her face

Domestic violence remains prevalent at every level of American society, despite strengthened laws and penalties, services that range from counseling victims to legal representation, and decades of raising the public's awareness about its devastating effect on families. Although OVC channels more VOCA funds to support victims of domestic violence than any other crime, the need remains greater than the resources available: the National Census of Domestic Violence Services documented 10,471 unmet requests for services in one 24-hour period in 2012.4 OVC is committed to assisting localities and providers with research, evidence-based practices, and innovative partnerships for improving the response to domestic violence and other long-standing types of victimization.


Nearly Half of V0CA State Assistance Serves Domestic Violence Victims

Domestic violence has accounted for 46 percent of VOCA state assistance for two decades, including FYs 2011 and 2012, when 3.4 million victims received services. Unlike VOCA assistance, domestic violence is not a separate category of VOCA compensation, but the statistics reflect its relationship to other types of crime. Domestic violence was a factor in nearly 54 percent of stalking claims and 33 percent of assault-related claims; overall, it was a factor in 21 percent of all compensation claims. In addition to supporting direct services through VOCA compensation and assistance, OVC funds demonstration projects and other resources5 to build the victim services field's capacity to expand and enhance urgently needed services for victims and their families.

OVC-Funded Center Supports Americans in Crisis Overseas

Americans living overseas who suffer the brutality of domestic violence face special challenges. Language barriers, unfamiliar legal systems, and spousal manipulations of foreign custody laws may leave victims feeling very much alone in their struggle to escape abuse, often with their children. In response to this critical service gap, OVC funded the Americans Overseas Domestic Violence Crisis Center, a 3-year demonstration project undertaken in 2010 to provide a continuum of services for American women and children experiencing domestic abuse while living in a foreign country. From advocacy and safety planning to help with relocation and emergency funds, the center helps victims begin to live free from abuse. The center serves an average caseload of 50 families and provides a toll free crisis line, 866–US–WOMEN, which is accessible from 175 countries. Lessons learned from this project will be shared with victim service professionals so that additional victims of family violence may benefit from them as well.

Of Special Interest

  • Tubman, the largest domestic violence shelter in the Twin Cities, Minnesota, has developed a wider array of services through mergers with elder rights and mental health agencies. With the recent purchase of a larger location, the shelter, which receives VOCA funding through the state, anticipates being able to offer legal services, access to medical care, and expanded counseling and therapy services.
  • Thumbnail of FotoNovelas publication
  • OVC provided funding to the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence (FCADV) to reach out to victims in Spanish-speaking migrant communities through a series of FotoNovelas—comic book-style publications that are highly popular within the Latino culture—to educate migrants about domestic violence and promote Florida's toll free crisis and legal hotlines, shelters, and other services. Project partners disseminated 37,000 FotoNovelas in 20 counties, which resulted in increased requests for assistance; calls to the legal hotline alone increased 200 percent.
  • The GLBTQ Domestic Violence Project Regional Advocacy Program is based in Boston, Massachusetts, but is committed to overcoming geographic barriers to serving gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer victims statewide. Using VOCA funds, the agency stations advocates in various regions to provide crisis intervention, safety planning, court accompaniment, emotional support, and other services.
  • The OVC-funded "Show Me Love DC!" public awareness campaign promotes healthy relationships in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) community, particularly among youth. The campaign's dynamic Web site incorporates resources for survivors of intimate partner violence, with special features created by survivors themselves. The campaign also has disseminated  transit ads, conducted workshops, and been present at LGBTQ and domestic violence awareness events. "Show Me Love DC!" was developed by Women Empowered Against Violence in Washington, D.C., and is currently operated by the national nonprofit organization Break the Cycle.
'Show Me Love! I Deserve It! My Relationships Should be Safe and Healthy' banner ad. Visit the web site http://www.showmelovedc.org/

4 National Network to End Domestic Violence, National Census of Domestic Violence Services, www.nnedv.org/resources/census/3418-2012-report.html (accessed March 26, 2013).

5 See Tribal Communities, Elder Abuse, and Victims with Disabilities for domestic violence-related resources developed to help providers serve specific populations of victims.