The Department of Justice announced today that it will award more than $246 million in grants to Alaskan Native American and Native American communities to improve public safety and help victims of crime. The announcement coincides with the 17th annual tribal government-to-government consultation on violence against women being held Sept. 21-23 in Anchorage, Alaska.
“Each year, this event serves as a necessary reminder of the violence perpetrated against women in tribal communities across the country, as well as an important opportunity to address this public safety crisis with due urgency,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “The Department of Justice remains committed to honoring our nation-to-nation partnerships and making tribal communities safer.”
The purpose of this event is to seek recommendations from tribal leaders on how to manage tribal funds and programs and improve the safety of Native American and Alaska Native women from domestic and dating violence, sexual assault, murder, stalking and sex trafficking, along with strengthening the response of the federal government to these crimes. The annual consultation, convened by the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), is required by law to address the federal administration of tribal grant funds and programs funded under the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA) and its subsequent ones new permits have been established. In addition to addressing violent crimes that disproportionately harm women and girls, the consultation will also focus on ways to improve access to local, regional, state and federal crime databases and criminal justice information systems.
More than four in five adult American Indians and Alaska Natives have experienced some form of violence in their lifetime. This equates to almost three million people who have experienced stalking, sexual violence or physical violence by intimate partners.
“Through this 17th annual consultation, the first to be held in Alaska, the Department of Justice recognizes our special government-to-government relationship with Native American leaders,” said Assistant Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco. “We also renew our commitment to listening to these leaders who know best how to make their communities safer. Together we can make meaningful progress in ending violence against women.”
“Ensuring access to justice for all is central to the Justice Department’s mission and is the primary goal of numerous efforts across the Department,” Deputy Attorney General Vanita Gupta said. “While we have made progress in addressing domestic and sexual violence against people in Indigenous communities, we know there is still work to be done and we are committed to doing it.”
The Tribal Grant Awards are designed to help improve tribal justice systems and law enforcement response, improve handling of child abuse cases, combat domestic and sexual violence, support tribal youth programs and a range of services for the Crime by the Indians and Alaskan Natives to fund the victims. The awards are administered by OVW, the Office of Justice Programs (OJP), and the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office).
“Every day, these funds help tribal governments, coalitions, advocates and service providers meet the needs of survivors — and this is critical given the epidemic scale of violence facing Indigenous communities,” said Allison Randall, associate director of the OVW. “Tribes know best what interventions will bring justice to survivors. We are honored to assist tribal communities in implementing strategies that align with community values and practices. Tribal grantees have told us that this funding has transformed the care they can provide and has fundamentally transformed the lives of survivors.”
OVW will award $28.04 million to 30 grantees as part of its tribal government program, which improves tribes’ ability to respond to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking and sex trafficking against Indian women, increasing the safety of survivors support and to develop education and prevention strategies. To facilitate the development and operation of nonprofit, nongovernmental coalitions against domestic violence and tribal sexual assault, $6.38 million will be awarded to 19 grantees through the Tribal Coalitions program.
OVW will also award seven grants totaling $3.67 million under the Tribal Sexual Assault Services Program, which supports projects to create, maintain and expand services for sexual assault survivors run by tribes, tribal organizations and non-profit organizations offered in tribal areas. Finally, under the Tribal Jurisdiction Program, four grants totaling $1.53 million will be awarded to tribal governments to provide support and technical assistance in planning and implementing changes in their criminal justice systems to exercise special criminal jurisdiction and assist in the to pay the costs incurred in the exercise of jurisdiction.
The OJP’s Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) has allocated more than $116 million through Tribal Victim Services Set-Aside (TVSSA) to support the delivery of crime victim services in tribal communities. Of particular note, TVSSA FY2022 funding can now be used to assist Missing or Murdered Indigenous Persons (MMIP) by providing services to the family members of MMIP victims. Raising awareness of MMIP among community members in general as well as individual MMIP cases; and working with tribal, federal, state and local officials to respond to MMIP cases. An additional $2.95 million was awarded through the OVC project Beacon: Increasing Access to Services for Urban American Indian and Alaska Native Victims of Human Trafficking Program, created to increase the quantity and quality of victim-centric services , available to support Indigenous victims of human trafficking in urban areas .
The Department also funded more than $6 million through the OJP Office of Sex Offender Sentences, Supervision, Arrest, Registration and Prosecution to help tribes comply with the federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act. As soon as the prizes have been awarded, you will find information about the scholarship recipients selected in the context of the respective call for applications online at OJP Grants page.
“Through collaborations like this that the Department of Justice is able to fully engage and engage with our tribal partners, hearing directly from tribal professionals about their challenges and the resources that would best help them meet those challenges.” said Amy L Solomon. “It is a privilege to work hand-in-hand with tribal leaders to strengthen public safety, improve victim services, and sustain crime prevention and intervention efforts.”
More than $82.2 million has been awarded under the Coordinated Tribal Assistance Solicitation (CTAS), a streamlined application that helps tribes apply for tribal grant programs that improve law enforcement and tribal justice practices, expand victim services, and prevention and intervention support. CTAS grants are administered by the OJP ($54.49 million) and the COPS office ($27.72 million).
“The COPS office values our partnership with tribal law enforcement agencies and is pleased to announce these important public safety grants,” said Acting Director Robert Chapman of the COPS office. “Challenges are facing law enforcement across the country, and those challenges are particularly exacerbated for tribal law enforcement. The awards announced today will assist in the recruitment and retention of law enforcement positions and ensure these officers have the training and equipment needed to protect and serve their respective communities.”
As part of CTAS, the COPS office provided $27.72 million through awards to 47 tribes to expand implementation of community policing and address the most urgent law enforcement needs in tribal nations through an expanded comprehensive program. Funding can be used to hire or rehire full-time law enforcement officers and village public safety officers, as well as to procure essential equipment, technology and training to help initiate or enhance tribal community policing efforts.