For over 2 decades, the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence has operated VAWnet, an online network focused on violence against women and other forms of gender-based violence. VAWnet.org has long been identified as an unparalleled, comprehensive, go-to source of information and resources for anti-violence advocates, human service professionals, educators, faith leaders, and others interested in ending domestic and sexual violence.
To be a trusted national leader in the provision of credible and innovative resources to strengthen a sustainable, multi-disciplinary, culturally responsive, survivor-driven approach to ending gender-based violence.
To accelerate social change through an accessible digital library of tools that expands capacity and advance efforts to end gender-based violence and intersecting issues.
- Engage social change agents consistently in critically thinking about topics relevant to their work.
- Serve as a foundational resource for research to inform practice, policy, and fund development.
- Organize and provide simple access to high quality and freely available resources.
VAWnet supports local, state, and national prevention and intervention strategies that enhance safety and well-being and address the self-identified needs and concerns of victims and survivors. Special areas of emphasis include:
- exploring new approaches in communities not well served by current services and strategies;
- examining the intersections of sexual and domestic violence, racism, and homophobia; and
- identifying the impacts of citizenship status, poverty, and mental and/or physical disability in the lives of victims and survivors.
VAWnet was created in 1995 by the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence with an initial focus on intimate partner violence and supporting the intervention and prevention efforts of a key group of constituents – state domestic violence coalitions. Since that time, VAWnet’s scope has broadened to encompass sexual assault and other forms of violence particularly impacting women. VAWnet’s constituent base has also expanded, and now includes: community-based domestic and sexual violence programs; state, tribal, and territorial domestic and sexual violence coalitions; national advocacy organizations; federal, state, tribal, and local government agencies; professional associations; educators; faith-based groups; and community organizations working to end gender-based violence.
Bridging Research & Practice
In 2011, researchers at the University of North Carolina Greensboro (UNC-G) recognized VAWnet.org as uniquely positioned to address and minimize the research to practice gap identified in literature and approached the NRCDV to establish a partnership around this goal. This sparked a 5 year systematic process, headed by academic leaders in the field of counseling and violence against women (Dr. Christine Murray) and website design and information science (Dr. Anthony Chow), to engage a variety of stakeholders and constituents in usability testing and feedback, resulting in a thorough set of recommendations for a thoughtful redesign of the website to enhance its utility in filling the research-practice gap. Based on these recommendations, a user-centered, mobile-first design was developed to better respond to the identified needs and priorities of VAWnet's audience.
A New Evidence-Based Resource
Released in October 2016, the new VAWnet.org is based on the outcomes of this multi-year research study and informed by some of the top experts in the field. It responds to findings that clearly identified who is using the site, what information they are looking for, most important information categories, and how best to deliver the information. It includes many new layers of content and state-of-the-art technologies including:
- A more powerful search engine,
- A simple mobile-friendly interface.
- Access to a personal advocacy toolbox where you can store, sort, review, and share resources, and
- More multi-media rich and user-generated content.
VAWnet is a project of the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (NRCDV) and is supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Family and Youth Services Bureau, Family Violence Prevention and Services Program.