December 8, 2011

Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Approves the Stand Against Violence and Empower Native Women Act

Washington D.C. –
Today, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, chaired by Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii), approved S.1763, the Stand Against Violence and Empower Native Women (SAVE Native Women) Act.
“I would like to offer my sincerest appreciation to Senators Franken, Udall, Inouye, Johnson, and Tester, who co-sponsored this bill, to Senator Murkowski who was added as a co-sponsor today, and to my fellow members on the Committee for approving this important piece of legislation,” said Akaka.
According to a study by the Department of Justice, there is an epidemic of brutality plaguing women in Indian Country – two out of every five women in Native communities will suffer domestic violence, and one in three will be sexually assaulted in their lifetimes. Four out of five perpetrators of these crimes are non-Indian and, under current law, cannot be prosecuted by tribal governments.
If the enacted, the SAVE Native Women Act would restore tribal criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians who commit crimes of dating violence and domestic violence on tribal lands, as well as those who violate protection orders. It would also clarify tribal civil authority and jurisdiction to issue and enforce protection orders, strengthen tribal coalition programs, and improve the response to addressing sex trafficking of Native women.
“Tribal governments are in the best position to protect Native women and children from violent predators. This legislation is a critical step in the right direction,” said Sarah Deer, Amnesty International’s Native American and Alaska Native Advisory Council Member.
“My colleagues on this Committee have taken a stand for Native Women. The SAVE Native Women Act will work to prevent violent crimes against Native women and will hold perpetrators accountable for their criminal behavior,” said Senator Akaka.
“Although we cannot change the past or right the wrongs for those who have been victimized, we can change their futures by passing legislation to better protect Native women, children and families, and by putting a stop to this cycle of violence.”
Contact: Emily Deimel
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