Underserved Program

The term “underserved populations” means populations who face barriers in accessing and using victim services, and includes populations underserved because of geographic location, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, underserved racial and ethnic populations, populations underserved because of special needs (such as language barriers, disabilities, alienage status, or age), and any other population determined to be underserved by the Attorney General or by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, as appropriate. (Source)

Program Overview


Underserved Program

The Underserved Program funds projects to develop and implement outreach strategies and enhanced services to adult and youth victims of domestic/sexual violence in underserved populations. Grantees do this by building the capacity of both mainstream organizations and organizations specifically serving underserved populations to provide culturally appropriate and inclusive services; and increasing training and outreach activities of organizations providing services to underserved populations.

The Underserved Program responds to the needs of some underserved populations (i.e. lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBT) victims, the Deaf or hard of hearing community, and certain religious/ethnic minorities) that, prior to VAWA 2013, were included under the Culturally Specific Services Program (CSSP) and the Sexual Assault Services Program – Culturally Specific (SASP-CS).

The Underserved Program enhances the safety of victims and their children by supporting community-based culturally specific projects to address and prevent domestic/sexual violence.

Big Changes Are Coming

On Sept. 22, the Grants Management System (GMS) that OVW grantees have been using to report OVW-funded activities will close, and on Oct. 15, a new progress reporting platform—JustGrants—will open.  Please see the JustGrants website for more about the transition, and view the OVW Action Dates memo for transition-related date and deadline information.  Underserved Program grantees will report their progress from July 1, 2020, through Dec. 31, 2020, using the new JustGrants system.  The instructions and reporting tools on this website will be updated as soon as possible this fall to help you prepare.