Reps. O’Halleran, Haaland Introduce Bill to Provide Resources to Survivors of Domestic Violence in Tribal Communities

Rep. Deb Haaland

Published February 27, 2019

WASHINGTON — On Tuesday, Reps. Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01), Deb Haaland (NM-01), Tom Cole (OK-04), and Don Young (AK-At Large) introduced the bipartisan Securing Urgent Resources Vital to Indian Victim Empowerment (SURVIVE) Act, a bill that would provide legal, medical, and counseling resources to women and children in tribal communities who are survivors of domestic violence.

“As a former police officer and throughout my time as a public servant, I have dedicated much of my work to protecting children, advocating for victims, and pursuing justice for communities,” said Congressman O’Halleran. “It is long past time for something to be done for the victims of violent crimes in Indian Country, many of whom face significant hurdles in and out of the courtroom as they seek justice. I am proud to introduce the bipartisan SURVIVE Act with my colleagues to ensure that survivors, no matter where they live, have access to necessary services as they recover and rebuild their lives.”

“The cycle of violence in Indigenous communities must be addressed, but there’s often a lack of access to legal services and counseling needed to move past a violent situation at home. That’s why I’m co-introducing the SURVIVE Act – it’s a bill that will provide meaningful services that support women, children and elders who experience violence in their communities, help them access to legal assistance to keep them safe, and build sustainable survivor services for Native Nations,” said Congresswoman Deb Haaland.

“The Southwest Indigenous Women’s Coalition supports the Native Youth and Tribal Officer Protection Act as introduced by Congressman O’Halleran as it reaffirms a Tribes inherent authority to provide much needed and urgent safety and protection of children and law enforcement officials in cases of domestic violence.” – Southwest Indigenous Women’s Coalition

The limited reach of current protections and resources continues to have devastating and dangerous consequences for victims on Tribal lands. Further expansion is needed to ensure that sexual and domestic violence survivors and their families are protected from further abuse and Tribal communities have the funding needed to assist victims and their families.  The SURVIVE Act sponsored by Representative O’Halleran, is a step in the right direction in ending sexual and domestic violence among all people.” – Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence

Federal data indicates that American Indian and Alaska Native communities face some of the highest victimization rates in the country. Yet, it is estimated that less than 0.7% of the Crime Victim’s Fund (CVF) established by the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) reaches tribes.

The  SURVIVE Act creates a tribal grant program within the Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime and requires a 5% allocation from the Crime Victims Fund (CVF) be provided to Indian tribes.

Additionally, the SURVIVE Act is endorsed by the National Network to End Domestic Violence and the National Congress of American Indians.

The SURVIVE Act was introduced by Senator John Hoeven (R-ND).

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