The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was implemented in 1994 in recognition of the severity of the crimes associated with domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking, as part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. VAWA was reauthorized in 2000, 2005, and 2013 to strengthen the law.

The Violence Against Women Act provides protection to women against crimes of sexual violence. The act was amended on several occasions and placed new obligations on colleges and institutions to report and conduct educational programs under its Campus Sexual Violence Act (Campus SaVE Act), which amended the Clery Act.

The 2013 VAWA Reauthorization added a non-discrimination provision that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex by organizations that receive funding under the Act and allows an exception for "sex segregation or sex-specific programming" when it is deemed to be "necessary to the essential operations of a program”.

Critical to ending violence and maintaining a safe campus is recognizing and avoiding abusive behavior. Abuse can surface in many ways (emotional, verbal, psychological, sexual, and physical). Some warning signs of abuse are:

  • Frequent yelling directed at a partner
  • IBlaming partner for own faults
  • Name-calling
  • Consistently accusing partner of infidelity
  • Kicking, holding, slapping, and scratching
  • Forcible sex (e.g., wanting sex after hitting)

Impact on UM:

All institutions are charged with adopting the following VAWA requirements:

  • A statement that the institution prohibits the offenses of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking
  • A clear definition of what constitutes domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking in the applicable jurisdiction
  • A definition of consent in regards to sexual activity, in the applicable jurisdiction
  • Safe and positive options for bystander intervention in order to prevent or intervene when there is a risk of sexual violence or stalking against another individual
  • Information on risk reduction to recognize warning signs of abusive behavior or how to avoid potential attacks

UM's VAWA Policy Statement:

The University of Miami is committed to maintaining a safe and secure work and academic environment free of any form of sexual misconduct including domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, and sexual harassment. A violation of the Violence Against Women’s Act shall constitute grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including, dismissal from the University.


Domestic Violence – Pattern of abusive behavior that is used by an intimate partner to gain or maintain power and control over the other intimate party. Includes any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member.

Dating Violence – Violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and where the existence of such a relationship based on a consideration of the following factors:

  • Length of relationship
  • Type of relationship
  • Frequency of interactions between the persons involved in the relationship

Sexual Assault – Non-consensual oral, anal, or vaginal penetration by or union with the sexual organ of another or by any other object.

Stalking – Willfully, maliciously, and/or repeatedly following, watching, harassing or intimidating another person; in person, electronically, or by any other means.

Consent-Consent is free and active agreement, given equally by both parties, to engage in a specific activity. Giving in is not the same as giving consent.

VAWA Resources:

You can help to ensure that victims have access to services they need to feel safe and receive counseling. Direct the victim to the following resources:

Campus Police – UMPD (Students, Faculty, Staff, Other) Dean of Students Office (Students) Title IX Coordinator (Students, Faculty, Staff) Workplace Equity & Performance (Staff, Faculty, Students, Other) Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs (Faculty) Faculty & Staff Assistance Program (Staff) Sexual Assault Response Team (SART)/Counseling Center (Students)

Violence Against Women and Sexual Harassment Education Programs are available; contact Workplace Equity and Performance or the Dean of Students to schedule an educational presentation or request materials.