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“And that has to do a great deal with readiness to change, plus receptiveness to intervention.”Ray Rice -- photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images But precisely because the success rate is relatively low, experts think it’s important that penalties be tough—and consistent. And it’s true for private organizations, like professional sports leagues.

“Forcing batterers into treatment works for some, but not for most,” says Tania Tetlow, a former federal prosecutor, a law professor at Tulane, and director of the Domestic Violence Center there.

It also raised awareness of the problem, at a time when a national news event—the killing of Nicole Brown Simpson, estranged wife of running back O. You don't have to believe VAWA and greater awareness are the primary explanation to believe they had a powerful effect.

“That’s a monumental change from twenty years ago,” Vice President Joe Biden, the architect of VAWA, wrote this week in He’s right.

The primary way that the federal government spends on domestic violence is through something called the Family Violence Prevention and Support Act, now in its 30 year.

FVPSA is not a huge program: it doled out 0 million last year.

”We should offer all the treatment in the world in case it helps, but not instead of punishment as we tend to do now.""Swift and serious sentencing is important to decrease the incidents of domestic abuse," says Lisa Smith, a former prosecutor who is now an assistant professor clinical law at Brooklyn Law School.

"Severe punishment by the NFL in this case with the attendant publicity will definitely send a message to abusers."It’s hard to say exactly how much money government spends on domestic violence today, because the money comes from so many different places.

Other federal programs, like Medicaid and funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, end up subsidizing domestic violence services indirectly. In last year’s survey, more than 9,000 requests nationally went unfulfilled.It also meant that family court judges, hearing the divorce cases, might not have full information about the domestic violence allegations.Today many jurisdictions, though by no means all of them, use a “one family, one judge” approach—consolidating the hearings into one place."The demand for services far exceeds the supply," says Stewart.Divorces frequently involve allegations of domestic violence.

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