STOP (Services, Training, Officers, and Prosecutors) Violence Against Women Formula Grants are awarded to states to develop and strengthen the criminal justice system’s response to violence against women and to support and enhance services for victims. Each state and territory must allocate 25 percent of the grant funds for law enforcement, 25 percent for prosecution, 5 percent to courts, and 30 percent for victim services. The remaining 15 percent is discretionary within the parameters of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
STOP grants are authorized by VAWA and subsequent legislation to support communities, including American Indian tribes and Alaska Native villages, in their efforts to develop and strengthen effective responses to sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking. VAWA also funds three other formula grant programs—Sexual Assault Services Program, Grants to state sexual assault and Domestic Violence Coalitions, and Grants to Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Tribal Coalitions Program. The FY 2021 STOP Formula Grant Program solicitation is here.
STOP Formula Funds generally require a 25 percent match. Victim service providers and tribes are always exempt from the match.
In 2016, OVW published a rule that included clarification about legal services and specifically mentions courts in § 90.17(a): “Funds granted to qualified States are to be further subgranted by the State to agencies, offices, and programs including, but not limited to, State agencies and offices; State and local courts; units of local government; public agencies; Indian tribal governments; victim service providers; community-based organizations; and legal services programs to carry out programs and projects to develop and strengthen effective law enforcement and prosecution strategies to combat violent crimes against women, and to develop and strengthen victim services in cases involving violent crimes against women, and specifically for the purposes listed in 42 U.S.C. 3796gg(b) and according to the allocations specified in 42 U.S.C. 3796gg–1(c)(4) for law enforcement, prosecution, victim services, and courts.”
Technology would be allowed under “other resources” referenced in 34 U.S.C. 10441(b) which governs the purpose areas and specifies that “grants…shall provide personnel, training, technical assistance, data collection and other resources for the more widespread apprehension, prosecution, and adjudication of persons committing violent crimes against women [and] for the protection and safety of victims.”
The U.S. DOJ’s frequently asked questions regarding STOP Formula Grants references legal aid and courts, including:
- “[S]tates can now provide a full range of legal services, such as housing, family law, public benefits, and other similar matters.”
- Courts can receive funds but then subcontract some or all of them to another entity such as a victim service provider for all or part of a project. This could potentially include court-related technology needs.
- States must consult and coordinate with various stakeholders including courts to develop the state implementation plan.
The 2021 STOP Formula Grant Program solicitation identifies 20 purpose areas, several of which specifically reference courts: training court personnel; developing and implementing more effective court policies, protocols, orders, and services; developing, installing, or expanding data collection and communication systems, including computerized systems for courts; domestic violence court advocates; formal and informal statewide, multidisciplinary efforts that include courts; and developing, enlarging, or strengthening programs to assist courts addressing the needs of older and disabled women.
Administering Federal Agency
U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women (OVW)
Find Your State/Local Administrator
Amount of Available Funding
To find examples of courts and/or their justice partners receiving these funds, click on the PDF.
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