Toolkit - Know Your Rights: Domestic Violence and Sexual Violence and Federally Assisted Housing

Common Questions

What is VAWA?

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is a law that protects victims and threatened victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking from being discriminated against by certain housing providers because of the abuse committed against them.

Am I covered by VAWA’s housing protections?

VAWA protects victims and threatened victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. You don’t have to be married to or living with the abuser to be protected by VAWA. VAWA applies to you if you are applying for or are a tenant in any of these programs: Public housing; Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program; Section 8 project-based housing; Section 202 housing for the elderly; Section 811 housing for the disabled; Section 236 multifamily rental housing; Section 221(d)(3) Below Market Interest Rate; HOME; Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA); Housing Trust Fund; McKinney-Vento Act homeless programs; Rural Development multifamily housing; and Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) housing.

How does VAWA protect me?

If you are a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking:

  • You can’t be denied admission or federal rental assistance just because you are or have been a victim or a threatened victim.
  • You can’t be evicted or lose your federal rental assistance just because you are or have been a victim or a threatened victim.
  • You can’t be denied admission or rental assistance, evicted, or lose your subsidy for reasons related to the abuse, such as bad credit history and criminal history.