Violence Against Indigenous Women

July, 2019

Jenna Reardanz, Taylor Scott, & Cagla Giray

Magnitude of the Issue

  • American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/NA) women are at an incredibly high risk to be the victim of violence. Recent estimates suggest over 500 unsolved cases nationwide of missing and murdered AI/NA women.

  • AI/NA women are more likely to be the victim of rape or sexual assault than any other ethnic group. Additionally, they are more likely to be seriously injured during the attack and investigation of their cases are less likely to lead to an arrest.

  • 46% of AI/NA women report being the victim of violence while the national average is significantly less at 36%

  • AI/NA women are more likely than other ethnicities to sustain a traumatic brain injury during violence.

  • Due to jurisdictional issues Indian nations are unable to prosecute non-Indians, who perpetrate the majority of sexual violence against IA/NA women, thus many cases are never brought to justice.

Current/Proposed Legislation

 

  • Savanna’s Act (S.227/HR 2733) proposes to improve coordination between law enforcement agencies, improve record keeping, and communication surrounding missing and murdered indigenous women.

  • Violence Against Women Acts’ Tribal Access Program (Sec. 901 – 903) includes funding to addressing issues specific to AI/NA women as well as trial programs to investigate the intersection between tribal criminal jurisdiction and women’s safety.

What Can be Done?​

  • Establish research-based community prevention programs. Promising programs have worked to use positive framing and work directly with Indigenous community members and leaders.

  • Work to collaborate with community members to move towards comprehensive, long-term prevention that transform multiple levels of an institutional system.

  • Help to establish more resources for Indigenous women escaping violence. Work to educate existing shelters on Indigenous communities and establish more resources within reservations, like the Emmnak Women’s Shelter.

Key Takeaways

 

1. Programs and funding should be directed towards preventing violence and supporting AI/NA women who have

been victimized. This should be done through collaborative efforts with tribes.

2. American Indian and Native Alaska women are more likely to be seriously injured and less likely to see their case

prosecuted.

3. Programs and funding should be directed towards preventing violence and supporting AI/NA women who have

been victimized. This should be done through collaborative efforts with tribes.

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