U.S Code last checked for updates: May 18, 2024
§ 12291.
Definitions and grant provisions
(a)
Definitions
In this subchapter, for the purpose of grants authorized under this subchapter:
(1)
Abuse in later life
The term “abuse in later life”—
(A)
means—
(i)
neglect, abandonment, economic abuse, or willful harm of an adult aged 50 or older by an individual in an ongoing relationship of trust with the victim; or
(ii)
domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking of an adult aged 50 or older by any individual; and
(B)
does not include self-neglect.
(2)
Alaska Native village
(3)
Child abuse and neglect
(4)
Child maltreatment
(5)
Community-based organization
The term “community-based organization” means a nonprofit, nongovernmental, or tribal organization that serves a specific geographic community that—
(A)
focuses primarily on domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking;
(B)
has established a specialized culturally specific program that addresses domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking;
(C)
has a primary focus on underserved populations (and includes representatives of these populations) and domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking; or
(D)
obtains expertise, or shows demonstrated capacity to work effectively, on domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking through collaboration.
(6)
Court-based personnel; court-related personnel
The terms “court-based personnel” and “court-related personnel” mean individuals working in the court, whether paid or volunteer, including—
(A)
clerks, special masters, domestic relations officers, administrators, mediators, custody evaluators, guardians ad litem, lawyers, negotiators, probation, parole, interpreters, victim assistants, victim advocates, and judicial, administrative, or any other professionals or personnel similarly involved in the legal process;
(B)
court security personnel;
(C)
personnel working in related supplementary offices or programs (such as child support enforcement); and
(D)
any other court-based or community-based personnel having responsibilities or authority to address domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking in the court system.
(7)
Courts
(8)
Culturally specific
(9)
Culturally specific services
(10)
Dating partner
The term “dating partner” refers to a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the abuser, and where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of—
(A)
the length of the relationship;
(B)
the type of relationship; and
(C)
the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
(11)
Dating violence
The term “dating violence” means violence committed by a person—
(A)
who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and
(B)
where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors:
(i)
The length of the relationship.
(ii)
The type of relationship.
(iii)
The frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
(12)
Domestic violence
The term “domestic violence” includes felony or misdemeanor crimes committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim under the family or domestic violence laws of the jurisdiction receiving grant funding and, in the case of victim services, includes the use or attempted use of physical abuse or sexual abuse, or a pattern of any other coercive behavior committed, enabled, or solicited to gain or maintain power and control over a victim, including verbal, psychological, economic, or technological abuse that may or may not constitute criminal behavior, by a person who—
(A)
is a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, or person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim;
(B)
is cohabitating, or has cohabitated, with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner;
(C)
shares a child in common with the victim; or
(D)
commits acts against a youth or adult victim who is protected from those acts under the family or domestic violence laws of the jurisdiction.
(13)
Economic abuse
The term “economic abuse”, in the context of domestic violence, dating violence, and abuse in later life, means behavior that is coercive, deceptive, or unreasonably controls or restrains a person’s ability to acquire, use, or maintain economic resources to which they are entitled, including using coercion, fraud, or manipulation to—
(A)
restrict a person’s access to money, assets, credit, or financial information;
(B)
unfairly use a person’s personal economic resources, including money, assets, and credit, for one’s own advantage; or
(C)
exert undue influence over a person’s financial and economic behavior or decisions, including forcing default on joint or other financial obligations, exploiting powers of attorney, guardianship, or conservatorship, or failing or neglecting to act in the best interests of a person to whom one has a fiduciary duty.
(14)
Elder abuse
The term “elder abuse” means any action against a person who is 50 years of age or older that constitutes the willful—
(A)
infliction of injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation, or cruel punishment with resulting physical harm, pain, or mental anguish; or
(B)
deprivation by a person, including a caregiver, of goods or services with intent to cause physical harm, mental anguish, or mental illness.
(15)
Female genital mutilation or cutting
(16)
Forced marriage
(17)
Homeless
(18)
Indian
(19)
Indian country
(20)
Indian housing
(21)
Indian law enforcement
(22)
Indian tribe; Indian Tribe
(23)
Law enforcement
(24)
Legal assistance
(A)
Definition
(B)
Person described
A person described in this subparagraph is—
(i)
a licensed attorney;
(ii)
in immigration proceedings, a Board of Immigration Appeals accredited representative;
(iii)
in claims of the Department of Veterans Affairs, a representative authorized by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs; or
(iv)
any person who functions as an attorney or lay advocate in tribal court.
(C)
Matter described
A matter described in this subparagraph is a matter relating to—
(i)
divorce, parental rights, child support, Tribal, territorial, immigration, employment, administrative agency, housing, campus, education, healthcare, privacy, contract, consumer, civil rights, protection or other injunctive proceedings, related enforcement proceedings, and other similar matters;
(ii)
criminal justice investigations, prosecutions, and post-conviction matters (including sentencing, parole, and probation) that impact the victim’s safety, privacy, or other interests as a victim;
(iii)
alternative dispute resolution, restorative practices, or other processes intended to promote victim safety, privacy, and autonomy, and offender accountability, regardless of court involvement; or
(iv)
with respect to a conviction of a victim relating to or arising from domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, or sex trafficking victimization of the victim, post-conviction relief proceedings in State, local, Tribal, or territorial court.
(D)
Intake or referral
(25)
Personally identifying information or personal information
The term “personally identifying information” or “personal information” means individually identifying information for or about an individual including information likely to disclose the location of a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking, regardless of whether the information is encoded, encrypted, hashed, or otherwise protected, including—
(A)
a first and last name;
(B)
a home or other physical address;
(C)
contact information (including a postal, e-mail or Internet protocol address, or telephone or facsimile number);
(D)
a social security number, driver license number, passport number, or student identification number; and
(E)
any other information, including date of birth, racial or ethnic background, or religious affiliation, that would serve to identify any individual.
(26)
Population specific organization
(27)
Population specific services
(28)
Prosecution
(29)
Protection order or restraining order
The term “protection order” or “restraining order” includes—
(A)
any injunction, restraining order, or any other order issued by a civil or criminal court for the purpose of preventing violent or threatening acts or harassment against, sexual violence or contact or communication with or physical proximity to, another person, including any temporary or final orders issued by civil or criminal courts whether obtained by filing an independent action or as a pendente lite order in another proceeding so long as any civil order was issued in response to a complaint, petition, or motion filed by or on behalf of a person seeking protection; and
(B)
any support, child custody or visitation provisions, orders, remedies, or relief issued as part of a protection order, restraining order, or stay away injunction pursuant to State, tribal, territorial, or local law authorizing the issuance of protection orders, restraining orders, or injunctions for the protection of victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
(30)
Rape crisis center
(31)
Restorative practice
The term “restorative practice” means a practice relating to a specific harm that—
(A)
is community-based and unaffiliated with any civil or criminal legal process;
(B)
is initiated by a victim of the harm;
(C)
involves, on a voluntary basis and without any evidence of coercion or intimidation of any victim of the harm by any individual who committed the harm or anyone associated with any such individual—
(i)
1 or more individuals who committed the harm;
(ii)
1 or more victims of the harm; and
(iii)
the community affected by the harm through 1 or more representatives of the community;
(D)
shall include and has the goal of—
(i)
collectively seeking accountability from 1 or more individuals who committed the harm;
(ii)
developing a written process whereby 1 or more individuals who committed the harm will take responsibility for the actions that caused harm to 1 or more victims of the harm; and
(iii)
developing a written course of action plan—
(I)
that is responsive to the needs of 1 or more victims of the harm; and
(II)
upon which 1 or more victims, 1 or more individuals who committed the harm, and the community can agree; and
(E)
is conducted in a victim services framework that protects the safety and supports the autonomy of 1 or more victims of the harm and the community.
(32)
Rural area and rural community
The term “rural area” and “rural community” mean—
(A)
any area or community, respectively, no part of which is within an area designated as a standard metropolitan statistical area by the Office of Management and Budget;
(B)
any area or community, respectively, that is—
(i)
within an area designated as a metropolitan statistical area or considered as part of a metropolitan statistical area; and
(ii)
located in a rural census tract; or
(C)
any federally recognized Indian tribe.
(33)
Rural State
(34)
Sex trafficking
(35)
Sexual assault
(36)
Stalking
The term “stalking” means engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to—
(A)
fear for his or her safety or the safety of others; or
(B)
suffer substantial emotional distress.
(37)
State
(38)
State domestic violence coalition
(39)
State sexual assault coalition
(40)
Technological abuse
(41)
Territorial domestic violence or sexual assault coalition
The term “territorial domestic violence or sexual assault coalition” means a program addressing domestic or sexual violence that is—
(A)
an established nonprofit, nongovernmental territorial coalition addressing domestic violence or sexual assault within the territory; or
(B)
a nongovernmental organization with a demonstrated history of addressing domestic violence or sexual assault within the territory that proposes to incorporate as a nonprofit, nongovernmental territorial coalition.
(42)
Tribal coalition
The term “tribal coalition” means an established nonprofit, nongovernmental Indian organization, Alaska Native organization, or a Native Hawaiian organization that—
(A)
provides education, support, and technical assistance to member Indian service providers, Native Hawaiian organizations, or the Native Hawaiian community in a manner that enables those member providers, organizations, or communities to establish and maintain culturally appropriate services, including shelter and rape crisis services, designed to assist Indian or Native Hawaiian women and the dependents of those women who are victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking; and
(B)
is comprised of board and general members that are representative of—
(i)
the member service providers, organizations, or communities described in subparagraph (A); and
(ii)
the tribal communities or Native Hawaiian communities in which the services are being provided.
(43)
Tribal government
The term “tribal government” means—
(A)
the governing body of an Indian tribe; or
(B)
a tribe, band, pueblo, nation, or other organized group or community of Indians, including any Alaska Native village or regional or village corporation (as defined in, or established pursuant to, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (43 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.)), that is recognized as eligible for the special programs and services provided by the United States to Indians because of their status as Indians.
(44)
Tribal nonprofit organization
The term “tribal nonprofit organization” means—
(A)
a victim services provider that has as its primary purpose to assist Native victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking; and
(B)
staff and leadership of the organization must include persons with a demonstrated history of assisting American Indian or Alaska Native victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
(45)
Tribal organization
The term “tribal organization” means—
(A)
the governing body of any Indian tribe;
(B)
any legally established organization of Indians which is controlled, sanctioned, or chartered by such governing body of a tribe or tribes to be served, or which is democratically elected by the adult members of the Indian community to be served by such organization and which includes the maximum participation of Indians in all phases of its activities; or
(C)
any tribal nonprofit organization.
(46)
Underserved populations
(47)
Unit of local government
(48)
Victim advocate
(49)
Victim assistant
(50)
Victim service provider
(51)
Victim services or services
(52)
Youth
(b)
Grant conditions
(1)
Match
No matching funds shall be required for any grant or subgrant made under this Act for—
(A)
any tribe, territory, or victim service provider; or
(B)
any other entity, including a State, that—
(i)
petitions for a waiver of any match condition imposed by the Attorney General or the Secretaries of Health and Human Services or Housing and Urban Development; and
(ii)
whose petition for waiver is determined by the Attorney General or the Secretaries of Health and Human Services or Housing and Urban Development to have adequately demonstrated the financial need of the petitioning entity.
(2)
Nondisclosure of confidential or private information
(A)
In general
(B)
Nondisclosure
Subject to subparagraphs (C) and (D), grantees and subgrantees shall not—
(i)
disclose, reveal, or release any personally identifying information or individual information collected in connection with services requested, utilized, or denied through grantees’ and subgrantees’ programs, regardless of whether the information has been encoded, encrypted, hashed, or otherwise protected; or
(ii)
disclose, reveal, or release individual client information without the informed, written, reasonably time-limited consent of the person (or in the case of an unemancipated minor, the minor and the parent or guardian or in the case of legal incapacity, a court-appointed guardian) about whom information is sought, whether for this program or any other Federal, State, tribal, or territorial grant program, except that consent for release may not be given by the abuser of the minor, incapacitated person, or the abuser of the other parent of the minor.
If a minor or a person with a legally appointed guardian is permitted by law to receive services without the parent’s or guardian’s consent, the minor or person with a guardian may release information without additional consent.
(C)
Release
If release of information described in subparagraph (B) is compelled by statutory or court mandate—
(i)
grantees and subgrantees shall make reasonable attempts to provide notice to victims affected by the disclosure of information; and
(ii)
grantees and subgrantees shall take steps necessary to protect the privacy and safety of the persons affected by the release of the information.
(D)
Information sharing
(i)
Grantees and subgrantees may share—
(I)
nonpersonally identifying data in the aggregate regarding services to their clients and nonpersonally identifying demographic information in order to comply with Federal, State, tribal, or territorial reporting, evaluation, or data collection requirements;
(II)
court-generated information and law enforcement-generated information contained in secure, governmental registries for protection order enforcement purposes; and
(III)
law enforcement-generated and prosecution-generated information necessary for law enforcement and prosecution purposes.
(ii)
In no circumstances may—
(I)
an adult, youth, or child victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking be required to provide a consent to release his or her personally identifying information as a condition of eligibility for the services provided by the grantee or subgrantee;
(II)
any personally identifying information be shared in order to comply with Federal, tribal, or State reporting, evaluation, or data collection requirements, whether for this program or any other Federal, tribal, or State grant program.
(E)
Statutorily mandated reports of abuse or neglect
(F)
Oversight
(G)
Confidentiality assessment and assurances
(H)
Death of the party whose privacy had been protected
In the event of the death of any victim whose confidentiality and privacy is required to be protected under this subsection, grantees and subgrantees may share personally identifying information or individual information that is collected about deceased victims being sought for a fatality review to the extent permitted by their jurisdiction’s law and only if the following conditions are met:
(i)
The underlying objectives of the fatality review are to prevent future deaths, enhance victim safety, and increase offender accountability.
(ii)
The fatality review includes policies and protocols to protect identifying information, including identifying information about the victim’s children, from further release outside the fatality review team.
(iii)
The grantee or subgrantee makes a reasonable effort to get a release from the victim’s personal representative (if one has been appointed) and from any surviving minor children or the guardian of such children (but not if the guardian is the abuser of the deceased parent), if the children are not capable of knowingly consenting.
(iv)
The information released is limited to that which is necessary for the purposes of the fatality review.
(3)
Approved activities
In carrying out the activities under this subchapter, grantees and subgrantees may collaborate with or provide information to Federal, State, local, tribal, and territorial public officials and agencies to develop and implement policies and develop and promote State, local, or tribal legislation or model codes designed to reduce or eliminate domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking if—
(A)
the confidentiality and privacy requirements of this subchapter are maintained; and
(B)
personally identifying information about adult, youth, and child victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking is not requested or included in any such collaboration or information-sharing.
(4)
Non-supplantation
(5)
Use of funds
(6)
Reports
(7)
Evaluation
Federal agencies disbursing funds under this subchapter shall set aside up to 3 percent of such funds in order to conduct—
(A)
evaluations of specific programs or projects funded by the disbursing agency under this subchapter or related research; or
(B)
evaluations of promising practices or problems emerging in the field or related research, in order to inform the agency or agencies as to which programs or projects are likely to be effective or responsive to needs in the field.
Final reports of such evaluations shall be made available to the public via the agency’s website.
(8)
Nonexclusivity
(9)
Prohibition on tort litigation
(10)
Prohibition on lobbying
(11)
Technical assistance
(A)
In general
(B)
Requirement
(12)
Delivery of legal assistance
(13)
Civil rights
(A)
Nondiscrimination
(B)
Exception
(C)
Discrimination
(D)
Construction
(14)
Clarification of victim services and legal assistance
Victim services and legal assistance under this subchapter also include services and assistance to—
(A)
victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking who are also victims of severe forms of trafficking in persons as defined by section 7102 of title 22;
(B)
adult survivors of child sexual abuse; and
(C)
victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking who are also victims of female genital mutilation or cutting, or forced marriage.
(15)
Accountability
All grants awarded by the Attorney General under this Act shall be subject to the following accountability provisions:
(A)
Audit requirement
(i)
In general
(ii)
Definition
(iii)
Technical assistance
(iv)
Priority
(v)
Reimbursement
If an entity is awarded grant funds under this Act during the 2-fiscal-year period in which the entity is barred from receiving grants under paragraph (2), the Attorney General shall—
(I)
deposit an amount equal to the grant funds that were improperly awarded to the grantee into the General Fund of the Treasury; and
(II)
seek to recoup the costs of the repayment to the fund from the grant recipient that was erroneously awarded grant funds.
(B)
Nonprofit organization requirements
(i)
Definition
(ii)
Prohibition
(iii)
Disclosure
(C)
Conference expenditures
(i)
Limitation
(ii)
Written approval
(iii)
Report
(D)
Annual certification
Beginning in the first fiscal year beginning after the date of the enactment of this Act,2 the Attorney General shall submit, to the Committee on the Judiciary and the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate and the Committee on the Judiciary and the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives, an annual certification that—
(i)
all audits issued by the Office of the Inspector General under paragraph (1) have been completed and reviewed by the appropriate Assistant Attorney General or Director;
(ii)
all mandatory exclusions required under subparagraph (A)(iii) have been issued;
(iii)
all reimbursements required under subparagraph (A)(v) have been made; and
(iv)
includes a list of any grant recipients excluded under subparagraph (A) from the previous year.
(16)
Innovation fund
(Pub. L. 103–322, title IV, § 40002, as added Pub. L. 109–162, § 3(a), Jan. 5, 2006, 119 Stat. 2964; amended Pub. L. 109–271, §§ 1(d)–(f), 2(e), Aug. 12, 2006, 120 Stat. 751, 752; Pub. L. 111–320, title II, § 202(d), Dec. 20, 2010, 124 Stat. 3509; Pub. L. 113–4, § 3, Mar. 7, 2013, 127 Stat. 56; Pub. L. 117–103, div. W, § 2(a), Mar. 15, 2022, 136 Stat. 840; Pub. L. 117–315, § 2(b), Dec. 27, 2022, 136 Stat. 4404.)
cite as: 34 USC 12291