Department of Justice offers funds to combat violence against Native American women

By Rob Capriccioso

Story Published: Mar 27, 2009

WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice Violence Against Women Office announced March 24 it has a $23.6 million available as part of the recently passed stimulus law to offer tribes and their victims’ advocates.

The office is now accepting applications to assist American Indian governments and tribal women’s coalitions to combat violence against women in tribal communities. New applicants in the office’s Tribal Governments Program can apply for up to $450,000 in grants; current grantees can request up to $1 million.

According to department officials, the Indian Tribal Governments Program will award $20.8 million to grantees and the Tribal Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Coalitions Program will award $2.8 million.

The application deadline for both programs, April 8, is quickly approaching, and officials said some tribes have already applied.

“These Recovery Act funds will assist tribal communities in responding to violent crimes against Indian women,” said Thomas J. Perrelli, associate attorney general. “Providing new resources to address the needs of tribal communities is essential to improving our victim services.”

“The Office on Violence Against Women is committed to improving the innovative responses to violence against Indian women,” added Catherine Pierce, OVW’s acting director.

The office was created in 1995 to administer financial and technical assistance to communities nationwide that are developing programs, policies and practices aimed at ending domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking.

Pierce expects the funds will create and stimulate additional staffing and resources for tribes.

The Tribal Governments Program has many goals. It is designed to decrease the number of violent crimes committed against American Indian and Alaska Native women; to help federally recognized tribes use their independent authority to respond to crimes committed against Indian women, and to ensure that those who commit violent crimes against Indian women are held accountable.

Program leaders expect tribes to use the funds for victims’ vocational and other educational programs and associated costs including housing, childcare services, transportation, renovation of emergency shelters and hiring personnel to provide and support the direct services to victims.

The Tribal Coalitions Program, meanwhile, was created to increase the awareness of and enhance the responses to domestic violence and sexual assault against American Indian and Alaska Native women, at the tribal, federal and state levels.

Along those lines, the stimulus funds are expected to be used by tribes to hire new staff, service providers and professionals to provide technical assistance, coordinate access to services, and develop more comprehensive methods of assisting victims and their families.

Eligibility requirements, award periods, program scope, performance measures, selection criteria and review process are highlighted online.

(To read original article, visit this Indian Country Today link)

Filed under