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Violence Against Women Act

VAWA: Long-Standing and Widespread Waste, Fraud, and Abuse

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Violence Against Women Act: Long-Standing and Widespread Waste, Fraud, and Abuse

Coalition to End Domestic Violence

March 16, 2021

The Violence Against Women Act has long been riddled with waste, fraud, and financial abuse. These are a few of many examples:

  1. A summary of Department of Justice audits revealed that 34 out of 47 recipients of VAWA funds – 72.3% — were found to be “Generally Non-Compliant” by auditors from the U.S. Department of Justice.[1] A finding of “Generally Non-Compliant” reveals an agency failed to meet minimum standards across a broad range of indicators. The audits unearthed $14.7 million in Unallowable or Unsupported costs, an average of $313,180 per agency surveyed.
  2. In 2020, the State of Florida assumed control of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, after Tiffany Carr, the former CEO of the Coalition, received more than $3.7 million in paid time off. Carr is currently at the center of a half-dozen lawsuits seeking repayment.[2]
  3. In 2019, the DOJ Office of Inspector General conducted an audit of the VAWA Technical Assistance programs, which revealed double-dipping and exorbitant payments to consultants:[3]

“we identified recipients paid a salary of approximately $55,000 from an OVW award who would then consult for a different recipient’s OVW award at the $650 per day rate. We also identified awards that were approved with $650 per day consultant rates for note takers, translators, or other services.”

  1. In 2018, a Prince George’s County, Maryland abuse shelter, the Family Crisis Center, was forced to close due to unsanitary conditions. The problem wasn’t lack of funding. The problem was financial mismanagement and lack of accountability. One shelter resident declared, “It was a living hell.” [4]
  2. Laura Ewing, a former employee of the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault, was sentenced to three years of probation for unlawfully writing 34 checks payable to herself.[5]
  3. In 2013, Sen. Chuck Grassley reported, “The Inspector General conducted a review of 22 VAWA grantees from 1998 to 2010. Of these 22, 21 were found to have some form of violation of grant requirements ranging from unauthorized and unallowable expenditures, to sloppy recordkeeping and failure to report in a timely manner.”[6]

When grant resources are misused, victims lose out and taxpayers are cheated.