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DOJ backs tribal court jurisdiction in domestic violence cases

The Senate Indian Affairs Committee held a hearing on Thursday on S.1763, the Stand Against Violence and Empower Native Women Act.

The bill seeks to combat the high rates of domestic violence against American Indian and Alaska Native women. Its biggest provision is the restoration of tribal jurisdiction against non-Indian abusers.

"Tribal police officers who respond to a domestic-violence call, only to discover that the accused is non-Indian and therefore outside the tribe’s criminal jurisdiction, often mistakenly believe they cannot even make an arrest. Not surprisingly, abusers who are not arrested are more likely to repeat, and escalate, their attacks," Associate Attorney General Thomas J. Perrilli of the Department of Justice said in his testimony.

Tribes and advocates for Indian women have long called for the restoration of tribal jurisdiction.

Get the Story:
DOJ official urges more protection for Native American women from non-American Indian abusers (AP 11/10)

Committee Notice:
LEGISLATIVE HEARING on S. 1192, Alaska Safe Families and Villages Act of 2011; S. 872 (November 10, 2011)

Related Stories:
Witnesses: Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing on bills (11/7)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee schedules hearing on bills (11/1)
Audio: Conference call on bill to combat violence against women (7/21)
Obama administration plans bill to fight violence against women (7/21)

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