A project of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health

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Violence Against Women

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Government in action on violence against women


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The U.S. government and women's health

About our programs

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. We do this through model programs, policy work, and communications.

Through leadership of the HHS Steering Committee on Violence Against Women, OWH coordinates partnerships within HHS and with other federal, state, and local agencies.

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 women and 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.

Some of our work focuses on examining how violence affects women with disabilities, engaging men as partners in prevention of violence, and enhancing college and university curricula to include domestic violence and sexual assault issues.

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"It's On Us" sexual assault prevention campaign

The HHS Office on Women's Health has partnered with the White House Council on Women and Girls and the Center for American Progress to launch the It's On Us campaign. The campaign will fundamentally shift the way we think about sexual assault. Sexual assault is not only a crime, but a societal problem in which all of us have a role to play. Stopping sexual assault is the responsibility of all of us. Take the pledge to be part of the solution at ItsOnUs.org.

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

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Project Connect is a national initiative to change how adolescent health, reproductive health, and Native health services respond to sexual and domestic violence. Research demonstrates that programs like Project Connect can help improve maternal and adolescent health and decrease the risks for unplanned pregnancy, poor pregnancy outcomes, and further abuse.

OWH and Futures Without Violence provide technical assistance and monitor the grantees selected for Project Connect. Project Connect grantees are committed to providing innovative, effective, and culturally relevant services to traditionally underserved communities, including African-American women, Native women, Latinas, LGBTQ youth, and rural women living in poverty. The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine is implementing an evaluation plan to measure the effectiveness of both the clinical intervention and policy change efforts.

Over the past five years, Project Connect has trained nearly 11,000 health care providers in specific interventions to assess for and respond to domestic and sexual violence in their clinical settings. The initiative has helped establish partnerships between public health programs and domestic and sexual violence advocates to effectively identify and refer victims of abuse. Project Connect teams have also had a significant impact on state-level policies, including instituting assessment of domestic and sexual violence into statewide protocols, improving data collection by adding new questions about domestic violence to statewide surveillance systems, increasing funding statewide for clinics that address violence, and requiring annual training on violence in key state programs.

Content last updated: January 27, 2015.

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