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Jodi Gillette: Restore tribal court authority in VAWA measure

"Last week, the House Judiciary Committee considered legislation to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). However, the bill that came out of the House Judiciary Committee failed to include a key provision which has already been accepted by the Senate on a bipartisan basis and is essential to protecting Native American women.

Since 1994, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) has been an essential tool in helping to protect victims of domestic and sexual violence. Since the passage of the Act, annual incidents of domestic violence have dropped by more than 60 percent. Over the years, Congress has continued its commitment to addressing violence against women by working with advocates, law enforcement officials, court systems, and victims in order to build on what we have learned and make improvements to the Act in each subsequent reauthorization. This was recently demonstrated by the Senate’s VAWA reauthorization bill (S. 1925), introduced by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Mike Crapo (R-ID) which passed last month with strong bipartisan support.

The Leahy-Crapo VAWA reauthorization bill addresses many pressing issues facing all victims of domestic violence, including those in Indian Country. Rates of domestic violence against Native women in Indian Country are now among the highest in the United States and the Leahy-Crapo bill directly confronts this epidemic."

Get the Story:
Jodi Gilette and Lynn Rosenthal: Addressing Violence Against Native Women in the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization (White House Blog 5/14)

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