Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) provides protections for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, ​sexual assault, or stalking.  VAWA protections are not only available to women, but are available equally to all individuals regardless of sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation.  VAWA provides protections to applicants and tenants of Public Housing, Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) programs, and Project Based Section 8 Housing programs.

Protections for Applicants

If you otherwise qualify for assistance under one of the programs mentioned above, you cannot be denied admission or denied assistance because you are or have been a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

Protections for Tenants

If you are receiving assistance under one of the programs mentioned above, you may not be terminated from participation, or be evicted from your rental housing because you are or have been a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.  Also, if you or an affiliated ​individual of yours is or has been the victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking by a member of your household or any guest, you may not be denied rental assistance or occupancy rights solely on the basis of criminal activity directly relating to that domestic ​violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

Affiliated individual means your spouse, parent, brother, sister, or child, or a person to whom you stand in the ​place of a parent or guardian, or any individual, tenant or lawful occupant living in your household.

Remedies

If you or an affiliated individual are a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking, you may request that the Regional Housing Authority (RHA) or your landlord take one of the following actions:

  • ​RHA may divide your lease in order to evict the individual or terminate the assistance of the individual who has engaged in ​criminal activity directly relating to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault or ​stalking.
  • Upon your request, RHA may permit you to move to another unit, subject to the availability of other units, and still keep your assistance.

If you request protection under VAWA, RHA or your landlord may request ​verification that you or an affiliated individual are/is a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault or stalking.  Such request from RHA must be in writing, and RHA must give you at least 14 business days (Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal Holidays do not count) from the day you receive the request to provide the documentation.  RHA may, but does not have to, extend the deadline for the submission of documentation upon your request.

You can provide one of the following to RHA as documentation.  It is your choice which of the following to submit:

  • A complete HUD- approved certification form given to you by RHA.
  • A record of a Federal, State, tribal, territorial, or local law enforcement agency, court, or administrative agency that documents the incident of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.  Examples include police reports, protective orders, and restraining orders, among others.
  • Any other statement or evidence that RHA has agreed to accept. 

Confidentiality

RHA must keep confidential any information you provide related to the exercise of your rights under VAWA, including the fact that you are exercising your rights under VAWA.  RHA must not allow any individual administering assistance or other services on behalf of RHA to have access to confidential information unless for reasons that specifically call for these individuals to have access to this information under applicable Federal, State, or local law.  VAWA does not limit RHA's duty to honor court orders about access to or control of the property.  This includes order issued to protect a victim and orders dividing property among household members in cases where a family breaks up.

Other Laws

VAWA does not replace any Federal, State, or local law that provides greater protection for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault or stalking.  You may be entitled to additional housing protections for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking under Federal laws, as well as under State and local laws.

RHA must make a copy of HUD's VAWA regulations available to you if you ask to see them.  For questions regarding VAWA, please contact Pattra Runge, Occupancy Manager (530) 671-0220. 

For help regarding an abusive relationship, you may call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or for persons with hearing impairments, 1-800-787-3224 (TTY).

Because everyone deserves a home.