Summary: H.R.1502 — 102nd Congress (1991-1992)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for H.R.1502. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in House (03/20/1991)

Violence Against Women Act of 1991 - Title I: Safe Streets for Women - Safe Streets for Women Act of 1991 - Subtitle A: Mandatory Restitution, Treatment, and Rehabilitation for Sex Offenses - Requires that a court order restitution, treatment, and rehabilitation for violations of Federal sexual abuse laws, including participation in a psychotherapeutic treatment program by a licensed therapist for specified persons who committed sexual or sexual-related offenses.

Specifies that: (1) the treatment program shall be designed to rehabilitate the affected person and to deter such person from committing a sexual offense after being released from the institution; and (2) treatment for a substance abuse-related condition shall be made available to such person in addition to, but not as a substitute for, counseling under such program.

Sets forth provisions with respect to the period of treatment, the requirement of a complete forensic psychological assessment prior to the commencement of the treatment program, termination of treatment, supplemental chemical treatment (but the affected person may refuse to participate, or continue to participate, in supplementary chemical treatment), and the responsibilities of the Attorney General (such as contracting for treatment and documenting subsequent criminal sexual abuse).

Directs the Attorney General to establish an advisory committee on therapeutic treatment for sex offenders. Authorizes appropriations.

Subtitle B: Law Enforcement and Prosecution Grants to Reduce Violent Crime Against Women - Amends the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to require the Director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance to make grants to areas of high intensity crime against women. Requires that the grants be used for personnel, training, technical assistance, data collection, and other equipment for the more widespread apprehension, prosecution, and adjudication of persons committing violent crimes against women. Authorizes the Director to make grants to States, for use by States and their subdivisions, to be used for the same purposes as the high intensity area grants and to reduce the rate of violent crimes against women.

Authorizes the Director to make general grants to: (1) States to reduce violent crimes against women; and (2) Indian tribes to reduce violent crimes against women in Indian country.

Authorizes the Director, in addition to the grants under this subtitle, to direct any Federal agency, with or without reimbursement, to use its authorities and resources in support of State and local assistance efforts.

Authorizes appropriations.

Bars any State or other grantee (recipient) from receiving funds under this title unless such recipient incurs the full cost of forensic medical exams for victims of sexual assault when such exams are required under this title. Specifies that a recipient does not incur the full medical cost of such exams if it chooses to reimburse the victim after the fact unless the reimbursement program waives any minimum loss or deductible requirement, provides victim reimbursement within a reasonable time (90 days), permits applications for reimbursement within one year from the date of the exam, and provides information to all subjects of such exams about how to obtain reimbursement.

Subtitle C: Safety for Women in Public Transit and Public Parks - Directs the Secretary of Transportation, from funds authorized under existing provisions, to make capital grants for the prevention of crime and to increase security in existing and future public transportation systems.

Authorizes the Secretary to make grants and loans to States and local public bodies to increase the safety of public transportation through lighting, camera surveillance, security phones, or other projects. Sets the Federal share of each project at 90 percent of the net cost.

Directs the Secretary to provide grants and loans to study ways to reduce violent crimes against women in public transit through better design or operation of public transit systems.

Amends the National Park System Improvements in Administration Act to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to provide assistance to reduce violent crime in the National Park System (NPS). Provides for the compilation of a list of areas within the NPS with the highest rates of violent crime. Allows funds to be used, around public parks and recreation areas, for increasing lighting, providing emergency phone lines, increasing security or law enforcement personnel, and any other project to increase security and safety.

Amends the Land and Water Conservation Act of 1965 to direct the Secretary of the Interior to provide grants for capital improvements and other measures to increase safety in public parks and recreation areas.

Subtitle D: National Commission on Violent Crime Against Women - Establishes the National Commission on Violent Crime Against Women to promote a national policy on violent crime against women and to make recommendations on reducing such crime. Authorizes appropriations. Terminates the Commission after submission of its final report, subject to extension by the President for up to one more year.

Subtitle E: New Evidentiary Rules - Amends the Federal Rules of Evidence to exclude, notwithstanding any other provision of law and in criminal cases other than a sex offense case, reputation or opinion evidence of the past sexual behavior of a victim from admission into evidence. Allows other types of evidence of a victim's past sexual behavior in accordance with specified procedures if its probative value outweighs the danger of unfair prejudice.

Makes reputation or opinion evidence of the plaintiff's past sexual behavior, notwithstanding any other provisions of law, inadmissible in a civil action involving allegations of actionable sexual misconduct. Makes other types of evidence of a plaintiff's past sexual behavior admissible in accordance with specified procedures if its probative value outweighs the danger of unfair prejudice. Defines actionable sexual misconduct to include sex harassment or discrimination claims under title VII (Equal Employment Opportunity) of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and gender bias claims under title III of this Act.

Makes evidentiary rulings made under specified Federal Rules of Evidence relating to sex offense cases and the relevance of a victim's past behavior subject to interlocutory appeal by the Government or by the alleged victim. Allows the alleged victim to waive those rules if the prosecution seeks to offer evidence of prior sexual history.

Makes evidence of an alleged victim's clothing, notwithstanding any other provision of law and in a criminal case under Federal laws relating to sexual abuse, inadmissible to show the victim incited or invited the offense.

Subtitle F: Assistance to Victims of Sexual Assault - Amends the Public Health Service Act (PHSA) to allow States to use amounts transferred by the State under block grant provisions for rape prevention and education programs conducted by rape crisis centers or similar nongovernmental nonprofit entities. Authorizes appropriations.

Removes a requirement that a minimum amount from the block grants under the PHSA be allotted to States on the basis of population.

Authorizes the Secretary of Health and Human Services (Secretary) to make grants for research and service demonstration projects to develop and evaluate techniques for lowering the overall incidence of rape by 20 percent by the year 2000 and for reducing the trauma and long-term impact of rape. Authorizes appropriations.

Title II: Safe Homes for Women - Safe Homes for Women Act - Subtitle A: Interstate Enforcement - Provides for a Federal term of imprisonment or fine, in addition to any State penalties, for any person who travels or causes another (including the intended victim) to travel across State lines or in interstate commerce with intent to injure a spouse or intimate partner and who, during the travel or thereafter, injures his or her spouse or intimate partner in violation of a criminal law of the State where the injury occurs, or in violation of a State protection order.

Provides for temporary protection orders while a case under these provisions is pending.

Mandates that a court order restitution to the victim of an offense under this Act.

Requires, provided certain conditions are met, that a protection order issued by the court of one State be accorded full faith and credit by the court of another State. Makes a protection order issued against a person who filed a written pleading for protection not entitled to full faith and credit if no cross or counter petition, complaint, or other written pleading was filed seeking such a protection order or, if a cross or counter petition was filed, the court did not specifically find each party entitled to such an order.

Subtitle B: Arrest in Spousal Abuse Cases - Amends the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) to authorize the Secretary to make grants, with regard to spousal abuse, to: (1) implement pro-arrest programs and policies in police departments and improve case tracking; (2) centralize and coordinate police enforcement, prosecution, or judicial responsibility for cases in one group of officers, prosecutors, or judges; and (3) educate judges to improve judicial handling of cases. Directs the Secretary to delegate to the Attorney General responsibility to carry out these provisions. Authorizes appropriations.

Subtitle C: Funding for Shelters - Amends the FVPSA to authorize appropriations to carry out that Act, earmarking at least 85 percent of funds appropriated for States, and at least ten percent for Indian tribes and tribal organizations, for grants (under current law, demonstration grants) to prevent family violence and provide immediate shelter and related assistance. Limits the percentage which may be used to provide training and technical assistance to State, Indian tribal, and local domestic violence programs and to other professionals who provide services to victims of domestic violence.

Subtitle D: Family Violence Prevention and Services Act Amendments - Amends the FVPSA to: (1) specify that the purpose of such Act is to increase public awareness of, as well as to prevent, family violence, and to provide for training to the courts, and legal, social service, and health professionals (current law specifies only local public agencies, nonprofit private organizations, and others seeking such assistance); and (2) grant preference in the distribution of funds to States that give special emphasis to projects including counseling and self-help services to victims and their children (current law covers counseling, alcohol and drug abuse treatment, and self-help services to abusers and victims.)

Directs the Secretary to provide for the funding of domestic violence coalitions that shall further the purposes of domestic violence intervention and prevention through activities such as: (1) working with judicial and law enforcement agencies to encourage appropriate response to domestic violence cases and specified issues, such as the use of mandatory arrest of accused offenders and the use of interstate extradition in cases of domestic violence crimes; (2) working with family law judges, Child Protective Services agencies, and children's advocates to develop appropriate responses to child custody and visitation issues in domestic violence cases, and where domestic violence and child abuse are both present; and (3) conducting public education campaigns regarding domestic violence through the use of public service announcements and informative materials designed for print and electronic broadcast media, billboards, and public transit advertising. Authorizes appropriations. Sets forth provisions with respect to the allotment of funds. Requires: (1) that any State domestic violence coalition have standing to challenge whether a grantee is in compliance with the eligibility requirements, or to seek enforcement, of provisions of the FVPSA; and (2) that each such coalition submit a report to the Secretary detailing the coordination, training, technical assistance, and public education services performed, and evaluating the effectiveness of such services.

Raises the limit on funding of grants in any fiscal year to any single entity (other than to a State) to $75,000 (currently, $50,000, and a $150,000 limit on the total amount of such grants to any such single entity).

Modifies provisions with respect to grants to entities other than States to require that the local share as a proportion of the total amount of funds provided under such Act to the project involved be 35 percent for new programs for the first year of the program and 20 percent for each year therafter for existing programs. (Current law specifies 35 percent in the first year such project receives a grant under such Act, 55 percent in the second such year, and 65 percent in the third such year.)

Repeals a provision requiring that a specified portion of State demonstration grant funds for preventing, and assisting victims of, family violence be distributed to provide shelter for victims. Includes shelter as "related assistance" that may be funded under grants for such purposes, as well as medical services, legal assistance, technical assistance with respect to obtaining financial assistance under Federal and State programs, employment training, and educational and preventive health services.

Increases the minimum allotment to States for grants under the FVPSA.

Requires the General Accounting Office, within 120 days, to complete a study of, and submit to the Congress a report and recommendations on, problems of recordkeeping of criminal complaints involving domestic violence.

Directs the Secretary to: (1) award to not less than ten States model State leadership grants for domestic violence intervention; and (2) provide grants or contracts with public or private nonprofit organizations for the establishment and maintenance of a national resource center and six specialty resource centers focusing on one or more specified issues of concern to domestic violence victims. Sets forth eligibility requirements, funding provisions, and, with respect to the latter, reporting requirements.

Subtitle E: Confidentiality for Abused Persons - Requires the Postmaster General to promulgate regulations to secure the confidentiality of abused persons' addresses.

Title III: Civil Rights - Declares that all persons within the United States shall have the same rights, privileges, and immunities in every State as are enjoyed by all other persons to be free from crimes of violence motivated by the victim's gender (defined as any crime of violence, including rape, sexual assault, sexual abuse, abusive sexual contact, or any other crime of violence committed because of or on the basis of gender). Makes any person, including a person who acts under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage of any State, who deprives another of the rights, privileges, and immunities secured by the Constitution and laws as enumerated by this Act liable to the injured party in an action for compensatory and punitive damages, injunctive and declaratory relief, or other relief as the court deems appropriate.

Amends the Civil Rights Attorney's Fees Awards Act of 1976 to allow the awarding of attorney's fees in actions to enforce this title.

Title IV: Safe Campuses for Women - Safe Campuses for Women Act - Amends the Higher Education Act of 1965 to authorize the Secretary of Education to make, on a competitive basis, grants to and contracts with institutions of higher education for rape education and prevention programs. Requires that the grants be used to educate and provide support services to student victims of rape or sexual assault, with 25 percent of the funds available for model demonstration programs for rape prevention and education curricula and for local programs to provide services to student rape victims.

Authorizes appropriations to carry out title X (Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education) of the Act.

Amends the General Education Provisions Act to add sexual assault to the list of criminal offenses about which statistics must be disclosed by institutions participating in certain programs.

Title V: Equal Justice for Women in the Courts - Equal Justice for Women in the Courts Act - Subtitle A: Education and Training for Judges and Court Personnel in State Courts - Authorizes the State Justice Institute to make grants for model programs to be used by States in training judges and court personnel in State laws on rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, and other crimes of violence motivated by the victim's gender.

Authorizes appropriations. Requires the State Justice Institute to expend at least: (1) 40 percent of appropriated funds on programs regarding domestic violence; and (2) 40 percent on programs regarding rape and assault.

Subtitle B: Education and Training for Judges and Court Personnel in Federal Courts - Directs the Federal Judicial Center to study and report on the nature and extent of gender bias in the Federal courts.

Requires the Center to develop and disseminate model programs to be used in training Federal judges and court personnel in the laws on rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, and other crimes of violence motivated by the victim's gender.

Authorizes appropriations. Requires between 25 and 40 percent of such funds to be used for the study required by this subtitle.