Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) protects tenants and family members of tenants who are victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking from being evicted or terminated from housing assistance based on acts of such violence against them. These provisions apply both to public housing agencies administering the Housing Choice Voucher Program and Moderate Rehabilitation and to owners renting to families under these rental assistance programs.

To all Tenants and Applicants

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) provides protections for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking. VAWA protections are not only available to women, but are available equally to all individuals regardless of sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is the Federal agency that oversees that the Housing Authority of Prince George’s County (HAPGC) is in compliance with VAWA. This notice explains your rights under VAWA. A HUD-approved certification form is attached to this notice. You can fill out this form to show that you are or have been a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking, and that you wish to use your rights under VAWA.”

Protections for Applicants



If you otherwise qualify for assistance under HAPGC you cannot be denied admission or denied assistance because you are or have been a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking. 

Protections for Tenants



If you are receiving assistance under HAPGC, you may not be denied assistance, terminated from participation, or be evicted from your rental housing because you are or have been a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking. 

Also, if you or an affiliated individual of yours is or has been the victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking by a member of your household or any guest, you may not be denied rental assistance or occupancy rights under HAPGC solely on the basis of criminal activity directly relating to that domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

Affiliated individual means your spouse, parent, brother, sister, or child, or a person to whom you stand in the place of a parent or guardian (for example, the affiliated individual is in your care, custody, or control); or any individual, tenant, or lawful occupant living in your household on the program.

Removing the Abuser or Perpetrator from the Household



If HAPGC chooses to remove the abuser or perpetrator, HAPGC may not take away the rights of eligible tenants to the unit or otherwise punish the remaining tenants. If the evicted abuser or perpetrator was the sole tenant to have established eligibility for assistance under the program, HAPGC must allow the tenant who is or has been a victim and other household members to remain in the unit for a period of time, in order to establish eligibility under the program or under another HUD housing program covered by VAWA, or, find alternative housing.

The Landlord may divide (bifurcate) your lease in order to evict the individual or terminate the assistance of the individual who has engaged in criminal activity (the abuser or perpetrator) directly relating to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

If Landlord chooses to remove the abuser or perpetrator, HAPGC may not take away the rights of eligible tenants to the unit or otherwise punish the remaining tenants. If the evicted abuser or perpetrator was the sole tenant to have established eligibility for assistance under the program, HAPGC must allow the tenant who is or has been a victim and other household members to remain in the unit for a period of time, in order to establish eligibility under the program or under another HUD housing program covered by VAWA, or, find alternative housing. 

In removing the abuser or perpetrator from the household, HAPGC must follow Federal, State, and local eviction procedures. In order to divide a lease, HAPGC may, but is not required to, ask you for documentation or certification of the incidences of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

Moving to Another Unit



Upon your request, HAPGC may permit you to move to another unit, subject to the availability of other units, and still keep your assistance. In order to approve a request, HAPGC may ask you to provide documentation that you are requesting to move because of an incidence of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking. 

OR

You are a victim of sexual assault and the assault occurred on the premises during the 90-calendar-day period before you request a transfer.

Documenting You Are or Have Been a Victim of Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Assault or Stalking



Submission of Documentation: The time period to submit documentation is 14 business days from the date that you receive a written request from your housing provider asking that you provide documentation of the occurrence of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking. If the requested information is not received within 14 business days of when you received the request for the documentation, or any extension of the date provided by your housing provider, your housing provider does not need to grant you any of the VAWA protections.

  • A complete HUD-approved certification form given to you by HAPGC with this notice, that documents an incident of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking. The form will ask for your name, the date, time, and location of the incident of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking, and a description of the incident. The certification form provides for including the name of the abuser or perpetrator if the name of the abuser or perpetrator is known and is safe to provide.
  • A statement, which you must sign, along with the signature of an employee, agent, or volunteer of a victim service provider, an attorney, a medical professional or a mental health professional (collectively, “professional”) from whom you sought assistance in addressing domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking, or the effects of abuse, and with the professional selected by you attesting under penalty of perjury that he or she believes that the incident or incidents of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking are grounds for protection.

If you fail or refuse to provide one of these documents within the 14 business days, HAPGC does not have to provide you with the protections contained in this notice.

If HAPGC receives conflicting evidence that an incident of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking has been committed (such as certification forms from two or more members of a household each claiming to be a victim and naming one or more of the other petitioning household members as the abuser or perpetrator), HAPGC has the right to request that you provide third-party documentation within thirty 30 calendar days in order to resolve the conflict. If you fail or refuse to provide third-party documentation where there is conflicting evidence, HAPGC does not have to provide you with the protections contained in this notice.

Emergency Transfers:



If the request is a request for emergency transfer, the housing provider may ask you to submit a written request or fill out a form where you certify that you meet the criteria for an emergency transfer under VAWA. If you are a victim of sexual assault, then in addition to qualifying for an emergency transfer because you reasonably believe you are threatened with imminent harm from further violence if you remain in your unit, you may qualify for an emergency transfer if the sexual assault occurred on the premises of the property from which you are seeking your transfer, and that assault happened within the 90-calendar-day period before you expressly request the transfer. 
  
HAPGC will keep confidential requests for emergency transfers by victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking, and the location of any move by such victims and their families.

HAPGC’s emergency transfer plan provides further information on emergency transfers.

The criteria for an emergency transfer:

(1) You are a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking. If your housing provider does not already have documentation that you are a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking, your housing provider may ask you for such documentation, as described in the documentation.

(2) You expressly request the emergency transfer. Your housing provider may choose to require that you submit a form, or may accept another written request.

(3) You reasonably believe you are threatened with imminent harm from further violence if you remain in your current unit. This means you have a reason to fear that if you do not receive a transfer you would suffer violence in the very near future.

Confidentiality



HAPGC will keep confidential any information that the participant submits in requesting an emergency transfer, and information about the emergency transfer, unless the participant gives HAPGC written permission to release the information on a time limited basis, or disclosure of the information is required by law or required for use in an eviction proceeding or hearing regarding termination of assistance from the covered program. This includes keeping confidential the new location of the dwelling unit of the participant, if one is provided, from the person(s) that committed an act(s) of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking against the participant. See the Notice of Occupancy Rights under the Violence Against Women Act For All Participants for more information about HAPGC’s responsibility to maintain the confidentiality of information related to incidents of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

 

Forms

 

For Additional Information



You may view a copy of HUD’s final VAWA rule at www.federalregister.gov.

Additionally, HAPGC must make a copy of HUD’s VAWA regulations available to you if you ask to see them. For questions regarding VAWA, you can also contact your Rental Specialist.

For help regarding an abusive relationship, you may call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or, for persons with hearing impairments, 1-800-787-3224 (TTY). 

You may also contact:

• Baxter Center - offers legal assistance and counseling (301) 952-3797

For tenants who are or have been victims of stalking seeking help may visit the National Center for Victims of Crime’s Stalking Resource Center at https://www.victimsofcrime.org/our-programs/stalking-resource-center.

For help regarding sexual assault, you may contact Prince George's County Hospital Center Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Center at 301-618-3154.

Victims of stalking seeking help may contact Prince George's County Sheriff's Office Domestic Violence Unit at 301-780-8408.

VAWA forms can be obtained by requesting it from your Rental Specialist, visiting the Housing Authority offices or online at ha.mypgc.us under Tenant Resources.
 

Local organizations offering assistance to victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

Name Phone
1. Emergency Assistance 911
2. Resource Information 211
3. Family Crisis Center of Prince George's County 301-731-1203
4. Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence 800-MDHELPS
​(800-634-3577)
5. Prince George's County Sheriff's Office Domestic Violence Unit 301-780-8408
6. Prince George's County Police Dept. Domestic Violence Unit 301-772-4433
7. Prince George's County Hospital Center Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Center 301-618-3154
8. Still I Rise, Inc. 301-868-4903
9. House of Ruth (24-Hour Hotline) 410-889-RUTH
​(410-889-7884)
10. Community Advocates for Family and Youth (CAFY) 301-390-4902
11. Prince George's County Health Dept. Domestic Violence Coordinator 301-883-7873
12. Department of Family Services Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking Division 301-248-0617
13. Courtney's House 301-870-8008
14. Turnaround, Inc. 410-377-8111
15. The Walbert 410-837-7000