Public Policy

CAWS North Dakota works to improve laws, systems and policies in order to address and prevent domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking in North Dakota.

CAWS North Dakota engages in this work on behalf of its 20 member domestic and sexual violence programs and on behalf of victims and survivors in our state. During CAWS North Dakota’s 35+ year history, all North Dakota laws and public policies benefiting victims of domestic violence and sexual assault were developed and implemented through the advocacy and leadership of CAWS North Dakota and its member programs in communities throughout the state.

To see the full evolution of Domestic Violence statutes in North Dakota, click here.

CAWS North Dakota has initiated and worked in partnership with others to make significant changed in North Dakota public policy, including: making marital rape a crime; establishing Orders of Protection; protecting confidentiality for domestic and sexual violence advocates; and ensuring that the state pay for sexual assault forensic evidence examinations, instead of the victim. CAWS North Dakota is responsible for designing the funding plan used to award state funding for domestic violence and sexual assault services—allowing for equitable distribution of funds among eligible programs to stabilize and provide access to services throughout the state. Currently, North Dakota has no specific defined crime of domestic violence, crimes of assault against a household and/or family member are treated as crimes of domestic violence.


In addition to our state-level efforts, CAWS North Dakota also advocates for federal funding and legislation to address the needs of victims. CAWS North Dakota prioritizes the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) and the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA).

CAWS North Dakota follows the Policy Development Process pictured below and is constantly looking for more people to advocate for issues they are passionate about. If you are interested in advocating for CAWS North Dakota during the legislative session, please visit our advocate for policy page.

CAWS Policy Development
SAFETY ALERT: If you are in danger, please use a safer computer, call 911, a local hotline, the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 or the U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.Escape