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Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Information

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) protects applicants, tenants  and program participants from being evicted, denied housing assistance or being terminated from the Section 8 program, based on incidents of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault or stalking. VAWA protects both men and women.

There are a few exceptions to portability rules for families who are victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault or stalking.

The exceptions may allow a family to:
 

  • Move within the first twelve months,
  • Move before the lease is over, or 
  • Move more than once within a twelve month period.

If you need to move because of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or being stalked, your housing authority must allow it, if your claim is determined to be accurate.

The housing authority may choose to accept your verbal statement or other corroborating evidence concerning your claim of domestic violence or the housing authority may request written documentation. If your housing authority’s policy states that you must submit written documentation of a domestic violence claim, the housing authority must give you that request in writing. 

Your response to the housing authority’s written request for documentation must be submitted to your caseworker within fourteen business days from the date of the written request. Acceptable written documentation may include one or more of the following:

  • Form HUD 5382, titled Certification of Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Assault or Stalking and Alternate Documentation. (You may request this form from your caseworker.)
  • A written statement signed by both you and a professional such as a victim service provider, attorney or a medical professional, who assisted you because of an incident of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault or stalking. The written statement must specify the incident is grounds for protection and remedies under the VAWA Final Rule and the incident meets the definition of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault or stalking.
  • A police report, court document or restraining order.

In cases of moving a family because of domestic violence issues, your Housing Authority shall not consider the move as a violation of Housing Choice Voucher policy.  This includes allowing your family to port to a different city or state, outside of your Housing Authority’s jurisdiction. 

In fact, housing authorities are required to have a plan in place for emergency transfer of Section 8 Voucher families who are victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault or stalking.

If you need to move because you fear for your safety or you are being stalked, or you have been sexually assaulted within the past 90 days, do not hesitate to contact your Housing Authority and request an emergency transfer. 

The housing authority must keep your information confidential and act quickly as possible to determine approval and get your voucher transferred. 

If you are or have been a victim of domestic violence, you may contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-7233, or chat on the organization's website. If you are a victim of sexual assault, you may contact the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network Hotline at (800) 656-4673, or chat on the organization's website.