U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women (OVW)
01/31/18 11:59 PM ET
Grants to USA and territories government agencies, tribes, and nonprofit organizations to address domestic violence and gender-based assault occurring in rural areas. Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit a letter of registration by January 11. Applicants must also complete or verify the required registrations no later than January 11.
The Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) is a component of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ). Created in 1995, OVW implements the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and subsequent legislation and provides national leadership on issues of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. Since its inception, OVW has supported a multifaceted approach to responding to these crimes through implementation of grant programs authorized by VAWA. By forging state, local, and tribal partnerships among police, prosecutors, judges, victim advocates, health care providers, faith leaders, organizations that serve culturally specific and underserved communities, and others, OVW grants help provide victims, across their life span, with the protection and services they need to pursue safe and healthy lives, while improving communities’ capacity to provide justice for victims and hold offenders accountable.
About the OVW Rural Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, and Stalking Program (Rural Program):
This program is authorized by the Violence Against Women Act (34 U.S.C. § 12341). Victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking in rural communities face unique challenges and barriers to receiving assistance rarely encountered in urban areas. The geographic isolation, transportation barriers, economic structure, strong social and cultural pressures, and lack of available services in rural jurisdictions significantly compound the problems confronted by those seeking support and services to end the violence in their lives. These factors also complicate the ability of the criminal justice system to investigate and prosecute sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking cases. In addition, socio-cultural, economic, and geographic barriers make it difficult for victim services providers to identify and assist victims of these crimes.
The primary purpose of the Rural Program is to enhance the safety of rural victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking and support projects uniquely designed to address and prevent these crimes in rural areas. OVW welcomes applications that propose innovative solutions to achieving this goal and encourages collaboration among criminal justice agencies, victim services providers, social services agencies, health professionals, and other community organizations to overcome the problems of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking in rural communities. OVW also recognizes the richness of diversity in rural communities and areas across the country, and encourages applicants to implement innovative approaches, through capacity-building and partnerships, to address the critical needs of victims in a manner that affirms a victim’s culture, effectively addresses language and communication barriers, and ensures accessible services for all victims.
Activities supported by the Rural Program are determined by statute, federal regulations, and OVW policies. If an applicant receives an award, the funded project is bound by the provisions of this solicitation, the DOJ Financial Guide, including updates to the guide after an award is made, and the conditions of the award.
In FY 2018, funds under the Rural Program may be used for the following statutory purposes:
1. To identify, assess and appropriately respond to child, youth, and adult victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking in rural communities, by encouraging collaboration among sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking victim service providers; law enforcement agencies; prosecutors; courts; other criminal justice service providers; human and community service providers; educational institutions; and health care providers, including sexual assault forensic examiners;
2. To establish and expand nonprofit, nongovernmental, state, tribal, territorial, and local government victim services in rural communities to child, youth, and adult victims; and/or
3. To increase the safety and well-being of women and children in rural communities by:
A. dealing directly and immediately with sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking occurring in rural communities; and
B. creating and implementing strategies to increase awareness and prevent sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and/or stalking.
For many applicants, the Rural Program is one of the few sources of funding to support the provision of core services for victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. For this reason, OVW will only fund applications that propose projects that implement a collaborative response, support victim services, and/or create a direct response to these crimes in rural communities. Proposed projects must devote at least 70% of their project activities and budget to Rural Program purpose areas 1, 2 and/or 3(A). Applicants may apply to address purpose area 3(B), but no more than 30%1 of the project budget and activities may be dedicated to prevention and awareness activities.
In addition to these purpose areas, Rural Program grantees must implement one or more strategies as outlined in the authorizing statute:
1. Implementing, expanding, and establishing cooperative efforts and projects among law enforcement officers, prosecutors, victim service providers, and other related parties to investigate and prosecute incidents of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking, including developing multidisciplinary teams focusing on high risk cases with the goal of preventing domestic and dating violence homicides;
2. Providing treatment, counseling, advocacy, legal assistance, and other long-term and short-term victim and population specific services to adult and minor victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking in rural communities, including assistance in immigration matters;
3. Working in cooperation with the community to develop education and prevention strategies directed toward such issues;
4. Developing, enlarging, or strengthening programs addressing sexual assault, including sexual assault forensic examiner programs, Sexual Assault Response Teams, law enforcement training, and programs addressing rape kit backlogs; and
5. Developing programs and strategies that focus on the specific needs of victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking who reside in remote rural and geographically isolated areas, including addressing the challenges posed by the lack of access to shelters and victims services, limited law enforcement resources and training, and providing training and resources to Community Health Aides involved in the delivery of Indian Health Service programs.
Mandatory Program Requirements:
Applicants that receive funding under the Rural Program will be required to engage in the following activities:
1. Provide services within statutorily defined rural areas and communities.
By statute, at least 75% of the total amount of funding made available for this program must be allocated to eligible entities located in “rural states” . The term “rural” state means a state that has a population density of 57 or fewer persons per square mile or a state in which the largest county has fewer than 250,000 people, based on the most recent decennial census.
However, regardless of whether an application is submitted by an entity from a rural state or a non-rural state, all applicants must target services in a rural area or community. The statute defines the terms “rural area” and “rural community” as:
(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.
2. Document the targeted rural areas and communities to be served.
All applicants, whether from statutorily defined rural states or non-rural states, must submit the eligibility and service area documentation as identified in Appendix G. The only exception is for applicants who are federally recognized Indian tribes and therefore are statutorily rural-eligible, regardless of their location. Documentation is not required for these tribes.
3. Mandatory Set-Aside.
VAWA also requires that OVW award 25% of appropriated Rural Program funds to meaningfully address sexual assault in rural communities. Applicants, however, are not required to address sexual assault within their individual applications.
OVW Priority Areas:
In FY 2018, OVW is interested in supporting the priority areas identified below. Applications proposing activities in the following areas will be given special consideration.
1. Improve services for and/or the response to victims of sex trafficking and other severe forms of trafficking in persons who have also experienced domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, or stalking.
OVW will give special consideration to Rural Program applications that address services and/or responses to victims of sex trafficking or other forms of trafficking in persons who have also experienced sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. Under the definitions and grant conditions applicable to the Rural Grant Program pursuant to VAWA, as amended, victim services and legal assistance includes services and assistance to victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking who are also victims of severe forms of trafficking in persons.34 U.S.C. § 12291 (b) (14) 6 This means that applicants can apply to serve individuals who are both victims of trafficking and victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking. Applicants proposing to serve trafficking victims must specify this in their application and must demonstrate capacity to serve this population, either through their own expertise and experience or through partnerships with organizations and/or agencies that have such expertise and experience. Applicants must also partner with federal, state, and/or local law enforcement and prosecution to develop comprehensive response protocols to ensure that trafficking victims are identified and referred for appropriate services. Applicants must identify how they will engage in outreach to trafficked victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking and tailor services to address the unique needs of these victims. An example of an appropriate project under this priority area could be training judges, advocates, law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and others who work with victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking to recognize when those victims may also be victims of sex trafficking or other severe forms of trafficking in persons. Another example might include incorporating education and awareness activities into a community coordinated response. OVW will determine whether the applicant’s proposal to address trafficking merits special consideration under this priority area.
2. Increase support for survivors of sexual assault, including services, law enforcement response, and prosecution.
OVW will give special consideration to applications that meaningfully address sexual assault such as supporting staff positions of adult or pediatric Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs) and/or Sexual Assault Forensic Examiners (SAFEs) training for these professionals, and programs that serve child sexual abuse/assault victims. Applicants are also encouraged to consider other areas addressing sexual assault, such as counseling for sexual assault survivors; the establishment or enhancement of Sexual Assault Response Teams; specialized personnel or units such as law enforcement or prosecution; specialized training related to responding, investigating or prosecuting sexual assault cases; programs addressing rape kit backlogs; and programs that involve implementation of the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) standards in working with incarcerated victims.
Applications that focus primarily (75% or more of their proposed goals, objectives, activities and budget) on developing, enlarging, or strengthening programs addressing sexual assault in rural communities or areas will be considered to be meaningfully addressing this issue and given special consideration during the recommendation process.
3. Meaningfully increase access to OVW programming for specific marginalized and/or underserved populations (based on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, age, etc.).
OVW recognizes the diversity within the population in rural America and the existing gaps among current Rural Program grantees in providing services that fully reflect the rural communities that they serve. OVW encourages applicants to consider projects that would increase services to underserved populations and ensure that services are representative of their community demographics. OVW will give special consideration to applications that propose to increase support for underserved populations, such as African Americans, the elderly, and immigrants. OVW also encourages applicants to consider ways in which they will ensure that organizations and programs focus on incorporating representatives from marginalized communities in their respective coordinated community responses and/or on their multidisciplinary teams.
Applications that focus primarily (75% or more of their proposed goals, objectives, activities and budget) on developing, enlarging, or strengthening programs addressing sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and/or stalking in African American, elderly or immigrant rural communities or areas will be considered to be meaningfully addressing the issue and given special consideration during the recommendation process.
Activities that Compromise Victim Safety and Recovery and Undermine Offender Accountability
The following activities have been found to jeopardize victim safety, deter or prevent physical or emotional healing for victims, or allow offenders to escape responsibility for their actions:
1. Procedures or policies that exclude victims from receiving safe shelter, advocacy services, counseling, and other assistance based on their actual or perceived sex, age, immigration status, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, mental health condition, physical health condition, criminal record, work in the sex industry, or the age and/or gender of their children;
2. Procedures or policies that compromise the confidentiality of information and/or privacy of persons receiving OVW-funded services;
3. Procedures or policies that require victims to take certain actions (e.g., seek an order of protection, receive counseling, participate in couples counseling or mediation, report to law enforcement, seek civil or criminal remedies, etc.) in order to receive services;
4. Procedures or policies that fail to include conducting safety planning with victims;
5. Project designs and budgets that fail to account for the access needs of individuals with disabilities, with limited English proficiency, or who are Deaf or hard of hearing;
6. The use of pre-trial diversion programs without prior OVW review and approval of the program or the automatic placement of offenders in such programs;
7. Offering or ordering anger management programs for offenders as a substitute for batterer’s intervention programs. Effective batterer intervention programs should use court monitoring to hold offenders accountable;
8. Procedures or policies that deny victims and non-abusing parents or caretakers and their children access to services based on their involvement with the perpetrator;
9. Dissemination of information, education, or prevention materials that place blame on the victim or focus primarily on changing victim behavior;
10. Policies or practices that discourage accepting cases when victims do not have physical evidence;
11. Policies and procedures that fail to account for the physical safety of victims;
12. Promoting nuisance abatement ordinances, crime-free housing ordinances, or crime-free lease addenda (often associated with crime-free housing programs) that require or encourage the eviction of tenants or residents who may be victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, or stalking; and/or
13. Policies or procedures that require testing of sexual assault forensic evidence in cases where the victim obtained a medical forensic exam but has not chosen to participate in the criminal justice system.
This list is not exhaustive. Applications that propose any activities that compromise victim safety and recovery or undermine offender accountability may receive a deduction in points during the review process or may be eliminated from consideration entirely.
GrantWatch ID#: 151203
OVW estimates that it will make up to 50 awards.
Funding levels under the Rural Program for FY 2018 are as follows:
1. Continuation applications will be limited to $750,000 for the entire 36 months
2. New applications will be limited to $500,000 for the entire 36 months
OVW has the discretion to award grants for greater or lesser amounts than requested and to negotiate the scope of work and budget with applicants prior to awarding a grant.
The Rural Program typically makes awards in the range of $350,000 - $750,000. The amount of the award varies among current grantees and is largely based upon the needs of the targeted service area as defined by the grantee, the geographic area that is to be served, and the scope of the project.
The grant award period is 36 months.
Generally, the award period will start on October 1, 2018.
2. Indian tribes;
4. Local governments; and
5. Nonprofit (public or private) entities, including tribal nonprofit organizations.
Nonprofit Organization Requirement – Offshore Accounts:
Any nonprofit organization that holds money in offshore accounts for the purpose of avoiding paying the tax described in section 511(a) of the Internal Revenue Code is not eligible for a grant from the Rural Program.
Other Program Eligibility Requirements:
In addition to meeting the eligible entity requirements outlined above, applications for the Rural Program must also meet the requirements below. All certification and other eligibility related documents must be current and developed in accordance with the FY 2018 solicitation. Applications that do not meet all of the program eligibility requirements below will not be considered for funding under the Rural Program.
Documentation of Eligible Service Area:
To be eligible to receive Rural Program funding, an applicant must demonstrate that it proposes to serve a rural area or rural community.
Delivery of Legal Assistance:
Any grantee or sub grantee providing legal assistance with funds awarded under this program shall certify in writing that:
1. Any person providing legal assistance with funds through this program
(A) has demonstrated expertise in providing legal assistance to victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking in the targeted population; or
(B) i. is partnered with an entity or person that has demonstrated expertise described in subparagraph (A); and ii. has completed, or will complete, training in connection with domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault or stalking and related legal issues, including training on evidence-based risk factors for domestic and dating violence homicide;
2. Any training program conducted in satisfaction of the requirement of paragraph (1) has been or will be developed with input from and in collaboration with a tribal, state, territorial, or local domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault or stalking victim service provider or coalition, as well as appropriate tribal, state, territorial, and local law enforcement officials;
3. Any person or organization providing legal assistance with funds through this program has informed and will continue to inform state, local, or tribal domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault or stalking programs and coalitions, as well as appropriate state and local law enforcement officials of their work; and
4. Thee grantee’s organizational policies do not require mediation or counseling involving offenders and victims physically together, in cases where sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or child sexual abuse is an issue.
In general, partners identified in the application as receiving a portion of the award are subrecipients and not contractors because they meet the criteria in 2 C.F.R. § 200.330 for distinguishing between subrecipients and contractors: they will be using federal funds to carry out a program for a public purpose specified in the authorizing statute for this program (as opposed to providing goods or services for the benefit of the applicant), will have their performance measured in relation to whether objectives of the grant program were met, and will have responsibility for programmatic decision making. For more information, see the Solicitation Companion Guide.
1. Eligible applications must include a victim service provider as the lead applicant and/or a formal project partner, as demonstrated through a required Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) or Letters of Support (for state, tribal, territory or local court applicants only, if applicable). A victim service provider is a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization, tribal organization, or rape crisis center, including a state or tribal domestic violence and/or sexual assault coalition, domestic violence shelter, faith-based organization, or other organization, with a documented history of effective work concerning domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking. Victim service providers should meet all of the following criteria: 1) provide direct services to victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking as one of their primary purposes and have a demonstrated history of effective work in this field; 2) address a demonstrated need in their communities by providing services that promote the dignity and self-sufficiency of victims, improve their access to resources, and create options for victims seeking safety from perpetrator violence; and 3) do not engage in or promote activities that compromise victim safety.
2. Eligible applications, including those submitted by a victim service provider, must include at least one project partner, and should include agencies and organizations necessary to implement the proposed project. These partners may include victim service providers addressing sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and/or stalking; law enforcement agencies; prosecutors; courts; other criminal justice service providers; human and community service providers; educational institutions; and/or health care providers, including sexual assault forensic examiners. See 34 U.S.C. § 12341(a)(1).
3. Trafficking Priority Required Partnership: Applicants applying under the trafficking priority area must include a local, state, and/or federal law enforcement agency and a local, state, and/or federal prosecutor’s office as a project partner as outlined in a memorandum of understanding.
OVW has determined the activities listed below to be out of the program scope, and they will not be supported by Rural Program funding.
1. Research projects (This does not include program assessments conducted only for internal improvement purposes. See “Research and Protection of Human Subjects” in the Solicitation Companion Guide.
2. Child abuse or family violence issues such as violence perpetrated by a child against a parent or violence perpetrated by a sibling against another sibling.
3. Services to children for anything other than child sexual assault or services beyond ancillary services provided to a victim’s child when there is an inextricable link between a parent’s victimization and the child’s need for services and in connection to providing victim services for the parent. For example, funds may be used to provide services to children of battered clients residing in a shelter.
4. Education and prevention for students not specifically related to sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and/or stalking, such as “bullying” or “character building” educational programs.
Applications that propose activities that are deemed to be substantially out-of-scope may receive a deduction in points during the review process or may be eliminated from consideration entirely.
OVW has determined the activities listed below to be unallowable, and they will not be supported by Rural Program funding.
3. Purchase of real property;
4. Physical modifications to buildings, including minor renovations (such as painting or carpeting); and
Applicants that propose unallowable activities may receive a deduction in points during the review process or may be eliminated from consideration entirely.
An application that is deemed deficient in more than one of the aforementioned categories (activities that compromise victim safety, out-of-scope activities, unallowable activities) may not be considered for funding.
OVW will pre-record a pre-application information session for entities interested in submitting an application for the Rural Program. Listening to this session is optional. Interested applicants who do not participate are still eligible to apply. During this session, OVW staff will review the Rural Program requirements, review the solicitation, and address frequently asked questions. The session is tentatively scheduled to be available by Thursday, January 11, 2018 on the OVW website.
The pre-recorded session will be captioned in English. Interested applicants needing additional language assistance should contact the Rural Program (see contact details below) as soon as possible.
Anyone interested in submitting an application to the Rural Program is encouraged to listen to the recorded Pre-Application Information Session and contact the Rural Program with any additional questions. A transcript of the session can be made available upon request.
To submit an application, all applicants must obtain a Data Universal Number System (DUNS) Number and register online with the System for Award Management (SAM) and with Grants.gov. To ensure sufficient time to complete the registration process, applicants must obtain a DUNS Number, and register online with SAM and with Grants.gov. immediately, but no later than, January 11, 2018.
Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit a letter of registration via email by January 11, 2018. This will ensure that applicants are well-positioned to successfully submit an application by the deadline. Submitting a Letter of Registration will not obligate a potential applicant to submit an application. Interested applicants who do not submit a Letter of Registration are still eligible to apply.
Applications are due by 11:59 PM Eastern Time (E.T.) on January 31, 2018.
OVW anticipates notifying all applicants of funding decisions by October 1, 2018.
View this opportunity on Grants.gov:
Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.
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