Rapid Response to the Redefining of Sexual Assault

Updated: Apr 5, 2019

The National Partnership to End Interpersonal Violence Across the Lifespan (NPEIV) is an overarching group of individuals, organizations, agencies, coalitions, and groups that embrace a national, multi-disciplinary and multicultural commitment to violence prevention across the lifespan.

And we are extremely concerned regarding the recent revelation that the Justice Department, without consulting stakeholders, significantly narrowed the definition of “sexual assault” and “domestic violence” in April 2018. Despite the former definitions involving input from organizations such as the National Center for Victims of Crime and the National Domestic Violence Hotline, the new definitions reframe domestic violence and sexual assault as an exclusively criminal concern. This not only impacts survivors by denying their experiences of harm which do not fit neatly within these narrowed and limited definitions, it also interferes with community education and prevention efforts focused on the eradication of domestic and sexual violence. It is also likely to reduce reporting because of the restrictive and confusing nature of the proposed definitions.

Sexual violence, intimate partner violence, and stalking are serious public health issues affecting millions of people in the United States each year. And just as other countries are expanding the definition of domestic abuse and sexual violence in recognition of the wide range of behaviors (physical, emotional, and psychological) that constitute these forms of interpersonal violence, the narrowing of definitions fail victims and survivors. NPEIV calls upon our leaders and Congress to recognize domestic and sexual violence as serious public health issues, not just as criminal justice issues, and support rather then undermine the ability for governmental agencies to support survivors, hold perpetrators accountable, and create safety for all our citizens.

NPEIV is committed to reducing interpersonal violence and its consequences through scientific research and application of empirical findings. It is our mission to make the prevention of interpersonal violence a national and international priority and to encourage healthy relationships by linking science, practice, policy and advocacy.

Through our many partnerships and collaborations, it is our vision to end all types of interpersonal violence, for all people, in all communities, at all stages of life. For more information, please visit www.npeiv.org


The Family Violence and Sexual Assault Institute/The Institute on Violence, Abuse and Trauma (IVAT) serves as the fiscal and logistical agents of NPEIV and are a Non-Profit 501(C)(3) Corporation. 

© 2017 by NPEIV

Contact Us

Email : npeiv@ivatcenters.org

​Telephone : ​858-527-1860 ext. 4042