Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) created special provisions in United States immigration law to protect domestic violence victims who are not U.S. citizens. These special provisions may help you obtain lawful permanent residence if you are a victim of domestic violence. Under VAWA, battered non-citizens who are married to, or recently divorced from, U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents can, in certain circumstances, self-petition (without the help or knowledge of their abusive spouse) to obtain lawful permanent residence.