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A project of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health
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Empowering women to live healthier lives!

Violence Against Women
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The U.S. government and women's health

Government in action on violence against women

About our programs

Team leaders:
Frances E. Ashe-Goins, R.N., M.P.H.
Aleisha Langhorne, M.P.H., M.H.S.A.

The Office on Women's Health (OWH) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) works to stop violence against women and girls in our country and around the world. It does this through both programs and policy work.

OWH coordinates partnerships within the department and with other federal, state, and local agencies. We do this in part through our coordination of the HHS Steering Committee on Violence Against Women and our staffing of the presidentially-appointed National Advisory Committee on Violence Against Women.

We also serve as the point of contact for HHS on violence against women issues. In that role we direct citizens, colleagues, and organizations to the appropriate office or agency to respond to inquiries and provide resources.

Through the work of our Regional Women's Health Offices, we have had an impact on domestic violence, sexual assault, and violence against girls throughout the country. The Regional Women's Health Coordinators have done groundbreaking work on the issues faced by women in prison, tribal women, and women in the U.S. territories. Learn more about regional activities on violence against women.

In past years, some of our work has focused on how violence affects women with disabilities, men as partners in prevention of violence, and enhancing college and university curriculums to include domestic violence and sexual assault issues.

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Domestic Violence Awareness Month (October) – 2011 OWH Events

Engaging Men in Stopping Violence Against Women Regional Town Halls

Vice President Joe Biden's commitment to ending violence against women has been unwavering. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) that he authored has reshaped the way the United States responds to domestic violence and sexual assault by enhancing law enforcement practices, improving the criminal justice system, and creating a network of services for victims.

Even though there has been a tremendous amount of progress made, young women between the ages of 16-24 still experience high rates of sexual assault, stalking, and relationship violence. One in five women will be sexually assaulted while in college, and one in four women will be a victim of domestic violence in her lifetime. Vice President Biden recognizes that in order to change these statistics, it is imperative to involve men and boys in the effort to cease violence against women. Most males are not violent towards women, and we need to create opportunities for this silent majority to speak out.

In response to the Vice President's call to action and youth initiative, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Education, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development are collaborating to hold ten regional town hall events throughout the country during the last week of October 2011 on the topic of Engaging Men in Ending Violence Against Women.

Find an event near you.

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HIV/AIDS-related Services for Survivors of Domestic Violence

Team leader: Aleisha Langhorne, M.P.H., M.H.S.A., Health Scientist

Under this project, organizations develop and implement programs to address the connection between domestic violence and an increased risk of HIV/AIDS. The project primarily targets female survivors and victims of domestic violence. It trains domestic violence counselors to incorporate HIV/AIDS risk reduction strategies into their service delivery. The organizations providing services under this project title are:

  • ENSYNC Diversified Management Services, Inc.
    Christine McMillon
    225 Waymont Court - Suite 111
    Lake Mary, FL 32746
    Email: ensyncdms@aol.com
  • Messages of Empowerment Productions
    Quinn M. Gentry
    280 Highland Lake Trace
    Atlanta, GA 30349-3916
    Email: QuinnGP@aol.com
  • Susan B. Spencer, Inc.
    Susan B. Spencer
    8016 Flourtown Avenue
    Wyndmoor, PA 19038-7920
    Email: sbspencer@comcast.net
  • The Wright Group
    Amelia J. Cobb
    1001 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW - Suite 600
    Washington, DC 20004
    Email: acobb@twgstrategies.com
    Website: http://www.twgstrategies.com

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End violence against women on college/university campuses

Team Leader: Aleisha Langhorne, M.P.H., M.H.S.A.

This project has become a core component of OWH's Health and Wellness Initiative for Women Attending Minority Institutions.

The mission of the program is to develop and implement programs and policy to address violence against women (VAW) on college/university campuses across the United States


  • Educate and engage students in the primary prevention of VAW
  • Educate faculty, staff, and campus security and police concerning critical issues associated with VAW
  • Establish on-campus task forces to enhance the sustainability of the program
  • Develop and implement policy standards and protocols to address the specific needs of the college/university related to VAW

Under this project, organizations will develop and implement programs to address VAW on college/university campuses. The project targets female and male students of all ages and will train faculty, staff, and campus security/police concerning critical issues associated with VAW. This project is designed to ensure programs adequately and specifically address the needs of college/university women. There is also a parallel project component around men's support of women's health.

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Project Connect: A coordinated public health initiative to prevent violence against women

In collaboration with the Family Violence Prevention Fund (FVPF), OWH identifies and partners with statewide teams to improve the health and safety of women and children. Project connect: A coordinated public health initiative to prevent violence against women (called "Project Connect") is funded by the Office on Women's Health. It finds new ways to identify, respond to, and prevent domestic and sexual violence, and promotes an improved public health response to abuse. Project Connect funding stems from the health provisions in the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2005.

More than half the project's funds are directed to 10 geographically and ethnically diverse sites that will create comprehensive models of public health prevention and intervention that can lead to improved health and safety. Each site works with family planning, adolescent health, home visitation, and other maternal child health and perinatal programs to develop policy and public health responses to domestic and sexual violence. Project Connect grantees also provide basic health and reproductive health services in domestic and sexual violence programs.

The FVPF, in collaboration with OWH, provides technical assistance and monitors the grantees selected for Project Connect. Ten grantees were selected through a competitive process and were awarded $200,000 for implementation. The selected grantees are:

  • Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence
    Allie Bones, M.S.W.
    Executive Director
    301 E. Bethany Home, Suite C-194
    Phoenix, AZ 85012
    Phone: 602-279-2900 x213
    Fax: 602-279-2980
    Email: execdir@azcadv.org
  • Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence
    Jan Christiansen
    Associate Director
    114 New Street, Suite B
    Decatur, GA 30030
    Phone: 404-209-0280 x13
    Fax: 404-766-3800
    Email: jchrsitiansen@gcadv.org

    Nicole Lesser, L.C.S.W.
    Executive Director
    Phone: 404-209-0280 x14
    Fax: 404-766-3800
    Email: nlesser@gcadv.org
  • Iowa Department of Public Health
    Binnie Le Hew, M.S.A.
    Project Director
    321 E. 12th Street
    Des Moines, IA 50319-0075
    Phone: 515-281-5032
    Email: blehew@idph.state.ia.us

    Juli Montgomery
    Phone: 515-242-5933
    Email: jmontgom@idph.state.ia.us
  • K'ima:w Medical Center
    Marilyn Powell, R.N., B.S.N., P.H.N.
    Outreach Manager
    P.O. Box 1288, 1200 Airport Road
    Hoopa, CA 95546
    Phone: 530-625-4261 x289
    Email: hupanurse@yahoo.com
  • Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention
    Kelly Jackson
    Project Coordinator
    286 Water Street
    Augusta, ME 04330
    Phone: 207-287-5136
    Email: kelly.jackson@maine.gov
  • Michigan Department of Community Health
    Jessica Grzywacz
    Director, Rape Prevention and Education Program
    P.O. Box 30195
    Lansing, MI 48909
    Phone: 517-335-8627
    Fax: 517-335-9669
    Email: grzywaczj@michigan.gov
  • Ohio Domestic Violence Network
    Nancy Grigsby
    Economic Empowerment Director
    4807 Evanswood Drive, Suite 201
    Columbus, OH 43229
    Phone: 614-781-9651
    Fax: 614-781-9652
    Email: nancyg@odvn.org

    Rebecca Cline, L.I.S.W.-S, A.C.S.W.
    Prevention Programs Director
    Phone: 330-725-8405
    Fax: 330-721-2472
    Email: rclineodvn@aol.com, rebeccac@odvn.org
  • Southern Indian Health Council
    Charity White Voth, M.S.W.
    Kumeyaay Family Services Director
    4058 Willows Road
    Alpine, CA 91901
    Phone: 619-445-1188 x383
    Fax: 619-659-9782
    Email: cwhite@sihc.org

    Jacqueline Manley, M.A.
    Domestic Violence Coordinator
    Phone: 619-445-1188 x206
    Email: jmanley@sihc.org
  • Texas Council on Family Violence
    Gloria Aguilera Terry
    President, Texas Council on Family Violence
    P.O. Box 161810
    Austin, TX 78716
    Phone: 512-794-1133
    Fax: 512-794-1199
    Email: gterry@tcfv.org
  • Virginia Department of Health
    Laurie K. Crawford, M.P.A.
    Medical Outreach Coordinator, Division of Injury and Violence Prevention
    109 Governor Street, 8th Floor
    Richmond, VA 23218
    Phone: 804-864-7705
    Fax: 804-864-7748
    Email: laurie.crawford@vdh.virginia.gov

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Special projects and pilot initiatives

Women of Faith Advocacy Initiative

In 2009, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office on Women's Health (OWH) launched the Women of Faith Advocacy Initiative to explore how faith-based organizations (FBOs) can better serve victims and survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Each participating organization is taking a unique approach to helping churches foster and practice greater advocacy for individuals affected by violence against women.

  • Ann Arbor Community Center, Inc.
    Yolanda Whiten, M. Div.
    Executive Director
    625 North Main Street
    Ann Arbor, MI 48104
    Phone: 734-662-3128
    Fax: 734-662-1099
    Email: ywhiten@aacc1923.org
    Website: http://www.annarbor-communitycenter.org
  • Alabaster Place, Inc. (Training and Development Center)
    Arlene Crump Peebles
    CEO and Executive Director
    Mailing Address: P. O. Box 73
    Winston-Salem, NC 27102-0073
    Physical Address: 4265 Brownsboro Road – Suite 206
    Winston-Salem, NC 27106
    Phone: 336-896-1367
    Email: alabasterplace@gmail.com
  • Garden of Hope, Inc. Community Development Center
    Sharon D. Houston, M.S.W.
    Deputy Director
    1317 E. Brambleton Ave
    Norfolk, VA 23504
    Phone: 757-622-0760
    Fax: 757-662-1099
    Email: Sharon.Houston@gcfbaptistchurch.org

Content last updated June 8, 2011.

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A federal government website managed by the Office on Women's Health in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
200 Independence Avenue, S.W. • Washington, DC 20201