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Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

Download Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

President Obama signed VAWA into law on March 7, 2013

The law is designed to improve and expand how institutions, such as the International School of Beauty, address sexual offenses and sexual violence, should it occur.  The VAWA was first enacted in 1994 with the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1194, 2000, 2005 and it has been reauthorized in 2013 to improve upon services for all victims of:
Sexual offenses or acts of sexual violence, including domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. Regardless of the victim’s gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

Under VAWA, effective March 7, 2014, International School of Beauty, Inc. is required to:

  • Adopt policy to address and prevent sexual offenses
  • Report campus crime statistics beyond the crime categories the Clery Act already mandates
  • Offer training to incoming students and new employees promoting the awareness of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, and consent
  • Offer ongoing prevention and awareness campaigns to the students and staff on these issue.

International School of Beauty, Inc. is committed to providing an environment where all persons attending or employed in an instructional or administrative capacity can work together in a safe, rewarding and one free of harassment, exploitation or intimidation. Every member of the community should be aware that this school prohibits sexual harassment and sexual violence, and that such behavior violates both law and school policy.  The International School of Beauty will respond promptly and effectively to reports of sexual harassment and sexual violence, and will take appropriate action to prevent, to correct, and when necessary, to discipline behavior that violates this policy on Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence.

  • All campus-related sexual harassment, sexual offenses, or acts of sexual violence including domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking ARE STRICTLY PROHIBITED. This policy applies to all School employees and students at its campuses in Palm Desert and Indio CA.
  • It is this school’s policy not to engage in discrimination against or harassment of any person associated with International School of Beauty, Inc.
  • Each student and staff (administrative and instructional) member has a role in preventing sexual harassment, sexual offences or acts of sexual violence.
  • Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 or VAWA
    • Intended to provide and promote the awareness of:
    • Domestic Violence:  The term “domestic violence” is defined as: Abuse committed against an adult or a minor who is a spouse or former spouse, cohabitant or former cohabitant, or someone with whom the abuser has a child or is having a child, has an existing dating or engagement relationship, or has had a former dating or engagement relationship.

The term “domestic violence” also includes: Felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by:

    • Current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim
    • Person with whom the victim shares a child in common
    • Person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner.
    • Person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction receiving grant monies.
    • Any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction.


  • Trisha, a student, just separated from her boyfriend John two days ago. He just kicked her apartment door and yelled that he is going to punch her if she doesn’t open the door immediately. John has been physically abusive with Trisha in the past, but she never told anyone. John is getting very angry and Trisha hears him repeatedly calling her a “slut.” John demands that she open the door. Trisha is very frightened. John says, “I’m not leaving until you open this door.”
    • Dating Violence: The term “dating violence” is defined as: Violence committed by a person:

A. Who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and
B.  Where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors:
i.  The length of the relationship
ii.  The type of relationship
iii. The frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship

Example #1
Sam and Alex have been dating for a few months. One day Sam and Alex are sitting on the couch together. Sam wants to watch TV and Alex wants to talk. Sam raises his arm and clenches his fist and yells at Alex, “I don’t want to talk, and if you don’t shut up, I’m going to make you shut up!” Sam then stands up and kicks the coffee table
Example #2
Sidney has started dating Casey. Sidney is constantly on-edge about remembering to “check in” with Casey. The relationship has now become sexual and Casey has demanded they stay exclusive and only date each other. Sidney can only see and talk to people Casey approves of. Sidney wants out of the relationship, but is afraid to approach Casey in fear their talk will become physical

    • Sexual Assault: The term “sexual assault” is defined as:
    • Engaging in physical sexual activity without the consent of the other person
    • An act of sexual assault may involve:
    • Physical force, violence, threat, or intimidation
    • Ignoring the objections of the other person
    • Causing the other person’s intoxication or incapacitation through the use of drugs or alcohol.
    • Taking advantage of the other person’s incapacitation, including his or her voluntary intoxication, his or her state of intimidation, or other inability to consent.

Example #1
Sonia and Chris are at a party and both are drinking heavily. Sonia is having trouble standing, so Chris leads Sonia over to a couch where Sonia can lie down. Sonia passes out and wakes up to find Chris on top of her, engaging in sexual intercourse.
Example #2
Pat is working late on an experiment at the campus research lab with Sandy. Pat thinks Sandy is being nice when Sandy offers to walk Pat home. Pat invites Sandy inside the house so they can continue their conversation. Sandy starts to kiss Pat, and Pat readily kisses Sandy back. Sandy starts touching Pat’s genitals. Pat pushes Sandy’s hand away and says, “No, I don’t want to.” Sandy becomes more forceful, and continues to fondle Pat’s genitals despite Pat saying, “No!”

    • Stalking:The term “stalking” is defined as: Behavior in which a person repeatedly engages in conduct directed at a specific person that places that person in reasonable fear of his or her safety or the safety of others.

Example #1
Allison meets Trevor through a class group project. The group members exchange telephone numbers and Trevor calls Allison for help with the project. As the quarter goes on, Trevor repeatedly asks her out on a date and he refuses to take no for an answer. Allison is in fear of her safety and tells him that she is not interested in dating him, but Trevor continues with this behavior that is unwanted and unwelcome by Allison. He repeatedly texts her throughout the day despite her requests that he stop texting her. Before each group meeting, Trevor waits outside the classroom to greet her, “What took you so long? I’ve been waiting for you for almost an hour, but I don’t mind.”
Remember, VAWA protects the rights of ALL victims of sexual offenses or acts of sexual violence, regardless of the victims’ gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

    • Consent:
    •  Informed: Consisting of an affirmative, unambiguous, conscious decision by each participant to engage in mutually agreed-upon sexual activity.
    •   Voluntary: Given without coercion, force, threats, or intimidation
    •  Positive cooperation in the act or expression of intent to engage in the act pursuant to an exercise of free will.
    • Revocable:
    • Consent to some form of sexual activity does not imply consent to other forms of sexual activity.
    • Consent must be ongoing throughout a sexual encounter and can be revoked at any time. Once consent has been revoked, sexual activity must stop immediately.
    •  Consent is given when a person is not:
    • Incapacitated: Physical and/or mental inability to make informed, rational judgments
    • States of incapacitation include, but are not limited to, unconsciousness, sleep, and blackouts
    • Where alcohol or drugs are involved, incapacitation is defined with respect to how the alcohol or other drugs consumed impacts a person’s:
    • decision-making capacity
    • awareness of consequences
    • ability to make fully informed judgments
    •  A person cannot give consent if he or she is:
      • Unconscious or coming in and out of consciousness
      • Under the threat of violence, bodily injury, or other forms of coercion, or if his/her understanding of the act  is affected by a physical or mental impairment
      • Other considerations with regard to consent include:
    • Silence does not equal consent
    • Lack of verbal resistance does not constitute consent
    • Lack of physical resistance does not constitute consent
    • Consent is not indefinite; consent may be withdrawn at any time, and at that time all sexual activity must cease unless or until additional consent is given
    • Minors and incapacitated persons cannot give consent
    • Whether the accused knew, or a reasonable person should have known, that the complainant was incapacitated


Taking Action

  • Bystander Intervention
  • Identifying Warning Signs
  • Avoiding Potential Harm
  • Reporting an Offense
  • Investigation and Disciplinary Proceedings
  • Disciplinary Actions and Sanctions

Bystander Intervention

  •   Most people want to help in difficult situations
  •   Incorrectly assume that someone else will take action
    •   Phenomenon known as Diffusion of Responsibility:
    • Each bystander’s sense of responsibility to help decreases as the number of witnesses increases
    • End result is that nobody speaks up, comes forward, or helps
    •   This is not bystander apathy:
    • People may be truly concerned about the welfare of the victim
    • Sincerely believe that someone else will help
    • Other person is either more likely or more qualified or more capable

What should you do?
Specific interventions can be divided into four main types:
Engage: say or do something that directly engages one or more of the parties involved
Distract: say or do something to interrupt the interaction
Enlist: ask for the help of someone else who may be better able to intervene
Delay: say or do something after the difficult moment or incident has passed

How do you decide what to do?
Things to consider before you act:

  • Is the situation an emergency or non-emergency?
  • Should intervention be direct, indirect or both?

 Bystander Intervention

Emergency Non-Emergency

  • Take someone’s keys away, drive the person home
  • Remove the person from the situation
  • Administer CPR

  • Talk to the person directly about the situation



  • Call 911
  • Seek assistance from a professional
  • Distract the people involved
  • Enlist help from others

  • Speak to and get help from someone with more expertise and/or authority: your campus safety officer, a campus administrator, or other professional

You are at a party. During the past hour you noticed one of your male friends talking to a woman. They seem to be having a good time, but it is clear that the woman has had too much to drink. At one point your friend walks by you and you hear him say he is just going to get her “one more” and “that should be enough.” A few minutes later, you see him put his arm around the woman and start to lead her upstairs. What could you do?

After reading the “bystander” example”
Is this an emergency or non-emergency?

  • While not life-threatening, there’s a certain urgency to the situation, especially after your friend starts leading the woman upstairs.

Should intervention be direct, indirect or both?

  • You have the opportunity to intervene in different ways and at different times in this situation

“At one point your friend walks by you and you hear him say he is just going to get her “one more” and “that should be enough.”


This is an early opportunity to intervene:

  • You can be direct by telling your friend to stop
  • You can tell him that you’re concerned he may be getting into a bad situation
  • Remind him that consent cannot be given when someone’s incapacitated

“A few minutes later you see him put his arm around the woman and starts to lead her upstairs.”

  • Engage:  Tell your friend to stop.  Offer to help the woman come back downstairs to the party
  • Distract: Tell your friend someone’s asking to talk to him.  Invite the woman to go outside for some fresh air.
  • Enlist: Ask the host to tell them that upstairs is off-limits, and/or, try to locate the woman’s friends and enlist their help.

Even if you didn’t intervene immediately, you can still act after the fact; perhaps the next day. Sometimes delayed intervention in non-emergencies can be just as effective.
The next day, you could:

  • Talk to your friend directly about the situation, your feelings about it, and other choices he could have made
  • Call the woman to check on her and offer support.  Even if you don’t know her, suggest this to a mutual friend that does
  • Strategize with other friends about how you might be able to intervene the next time something similar happens

Safe Responding:

  • Choose a course of action, direct or indirect, that best ensures the safety of those involved, including yourself.

Early Intervention:

  • Take action before the problem becomes worse

Effective Helping:

  • Implement specific helping skills depending on the situation

Identifying Warning Signs

  • Identifying some of the warning signs that may lead to a sexual offense or an act of sexual violence
  • These behavioral warning signs may include, but are not limited to:
  • Jealousy – excessive questions about who a partner spends time with
  • Controlling Behavior – not allowing a partner to make personal decisions
  • Isolation – curtailing a partner’s social interaction
  • Verbal Abuse – saying things about or to a partner that are mean to be cruel
  • Blame-shifting or feelings and problems – blaming a partner, family, or the School for one’s own inabilities or lack of responsibility
  • Making threats of violence – saying things like “if you talk to him/her again, I’ll kill you.” Or “If you leave me, I will kill myself.”

What to Say:

  • If you suspect someone you know is a victim of a sexual offense or an act of sexual violence, talking with them about it can be difficult.
  • The most important thing you can do is to let them know that they have support and that they do have options.

Some guidance on what to say and do can include:

  • Offer your support without judgment or criticism
  • Tell him or her that you’re concerned for his or her safety
  • Encourage him or her to get help
  • Try to avoid a confrontation while doing so

Avoiding Potential Harm
It’s important to remember that while we can take steps to minimize risk, the only person to blame when a sexual offense or an act of sexual violence happens, is the perpetrator.

Strategies you can use for placing yourself in the best position to avoid harm and to minimize the risk of a sexual offense or an act of sexual violence.  Some of these strategies include:

  • Trust your gut instincts.  If a situation doesn’t “feel right”, don’t worry about offending people, just leave.
  • Notice when someone doesn’t respect your boundaries, and not being afraid to assert your right to have your boundaries respected.
  • Understand that most perpetrators of sexual violence look for someone in a vulnerable position.  This understanding can help guide your actions and choices

Other strategies for placing yourself in the best possible position to avoid harm and minimize risk may include:

  • Control access to your home and car by locking your doors and not leaving windows wide open if they provide easy access
  • Use “situational awareness: by noticing where you are and who’s around
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help in situations that feel unsafe, such as asking for an escort to your parked car or asking people go walk with you
  • Travel in groups when possible and appropriate


Reporting an Offense

A sexual offense or act of sexual violence can be very frightening and disorienting.
Often, victims do not know where to turn or how to reach out for assistance and help
If you’ve been involved in a sexual offense or an act of sexual violence, you are encouraged to:

  • Find a safe place
  • Seek medical attention
  • Preserve evidence
  • Report the crime

In addition, as the victim of a sexual offense or an act of sexual violence, you are also encouraged to report this to your school:  Administration Office, Title IV Office, or any instructional staff member who will help you report acts of sexual violence that may have happened while you were on the school premises, parking lot or, even away from school grounds. 
Even if you are a bystander witnessing, or received a report of, a sexual offense or an act of sexual violence, you are encouraged to reach out to any of these resources for guidance and assistance.

Investigation and Disciplinary Proceedings

Campus proceedings to investigate and institute disciplinary action for sexual offenses or acts of sexual violence will:

  • Provide a prompt, fair, and impartial investigation and resolution
  • Be conducted by authorized school official (Director/School Owner(s))
  • Use the standard of evidence set forth in the applicable policy

Both the accuser and the accused will have the same rights to have others present during an investigation and disciplinary proceedings, including an instructor/advisor of their choosing.


Disciplinary Actions and Sanctions
The following disciplinary actions and sanctions may be imposed, as appropriate, if a person is found to have committed a sexual offense or an act of sexual violence:

  • Suspension
  • Expulsion
  • Termination of employment

Perpetrators of crimes may also be subject to criminal prosecution.

Campus Resources

  • Owners: Ronald and Mirela Holbert
  • Business/Student Services/Administrative Manager
  • Instruction Staff
  • Financial Aid Administrator
  • Victim Advocacy Services:
  • Coachella Valley Sexual Assault Services, Rape Crisis Center

74-333 Hwy. 111 Palm Desert CA 92260 – 800-656-4673

  • Assistance League of Palm Springs of Desert Area Assault Survivor Kits

68355 Ramon Road, Cathedral City CA 92270 – 760-321-1990

  • Legal Services: Desert Legal Aid – 760-832-9770  www.desertlegalaid.org
  • Clery Act:  please refer to http://clerycenter.org/summary-jeanne-clery-act

Originally known as the Campus Security Act, the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (20 USC § 1092(f)) is the landmark federal law that requires colleges and universities across the United States to disclose information about crime on and around their campuses. The law is tied to an institution’s participation in federal student financial aid programs and it applies to most institutions of higher education both public and private. The Clery Act is enforced by the United States Department of Education.