If you are a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, dating violence or other kinds of violence, it may be possible to use the Violence Against Women Women Act to protect yourself. VAWA has been reauthorized by the Biden Administration and bipartisan support of Congress.
The Violence Against Women Act, or VAWA, was first passed in 1994 and aims to protect women against violence while also taking steps to prevent it, expand access to safety and provide additional support.
The reauthorization of VAWA:
- Increases or keeps the same current VAWA grant programs that will remain effective until 2027
- Increases support and services for survivors in marginalized communities
- Improves support to protect victims of cybercrimes
These are three of several major changes and improvements made. More can be seen on The White House’s government website.
Does VAWA protect immigrants in the United States?
Yes, beneficially, VAWA protects both men and women who are immigrants living in the United States. Parents of citizens may also file for protections under VAWA.
In 2019, it was determined that around 23 million immigrant women or girls were living in the United States. Many of these people are vulnerable to domestic violence, human trafficking and other serious crimes, which is why this act was put into place. Though it does distinctly state “women” in the act’s title, it protects all people against qualifying crimes.
What kind of visa could you get if you apply under VAWA?
There are two main visas that you may seek. The first is the U visa, which was formed with the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act in the year 2000. This visa allows a victim to stay in the United States and work.
The other option may be a T visa. This visa is specifically for those who have been harmed through human trafficking and who are willing to work with law-enforcement officials to attempt to prosecute the offenders. There are exemptions for those 18 and younger.
If you are injured by a spouse, partner, family member or other party, you may be able to seek a protective visa and stay in the United States. It’s valuable to look into your options, so you can protect yourself and the life you’ve made here.