Month/Year of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


Political Science

First Advisor

Professor Kim Retzlaff


The Violence Against Women’s Act, or VAWA, is a landmark piece of federal legislation to combat domestic violence in the United States. It passed in 1994 following various state efforts to stop intimate partner violence. Broad federal legislation was needed to end domestic violence because of the unique nature of the crime including the strong connection between victims and perpetrators, the vast scale of the problem, and the reoccurring nature of domestic violence (Fagan, p. 28-29, 1996). VAWA has been expanded through reauthorization efforts in 2000, 2005, and 2013. Reform efforts have focused on increasing protections for victims especially focusing on stalking, youth, and Indigenous victims, but have become more divisive over time. Current political challenges, especially in relation to gun control, resulted in VAWA’s expiration in 2018. Despite VAWA’s reauthorization passing in the House of the 115th and 116th sessions of Congress, it is unlikely that the Senate will vote to reauthorize the bill soon, especially given the coronavirus outbreak.