Violence Against American Indian and Alaska Native Women and Men: Findings from a National Survey
This seminar provides the first set of estimates from a national large-scale survey of violence against women and men who identified themselves as American Indian or Alaska Native using detailed behaviorally specific questions on psychological aggression, coercive control and entrapment, physical violence, stalking, and sexual violence. These results are expected to raise awareness and understanding of violence experienced by American Indian and Alaska Native people.
NANCY RODRIGUEZ: Good morning. Good morning, everyone. And welcome to today's NIJ Research for the Real World seminar. I am Nancy Rodriguez, director of the National Institute of Justice. And I want to thank all of you for being with us here today. As you know, the title of today's presentation is "Violence Against American Indian and Alaska Native Women and Men, 2010 Findings from the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey." Today, we are so pleased to have Dr. André Rosay here with us to present some of the key findings from this important work. We are also honored to have with us Carrie Bettinger-Lopez, White House Advisor on Violence Against Women, Bea Hanson, Director of the Office on Violence Against Women, and Joye Frost, Director of the Office for Victims of Crime, here to discuss the implications of this research on policies and practice, including approaches to preventing this type of violence, to hold perpetrators accountable, and ultimately, to promote safety and healing for victims and survivors. Our panelists will also discuss how we might be able to bridge the gap between and research and practice, and highlight the additional services that are needed for American Indian and Alaska Native victims of crime. You should know that this study is part of NIJ's growing portfolio on tribal crime and justice issues. And this study, in particular, is highly relevant and important because it is the first time we have a set of indicators from a national large-scale survey of victimization among self-identified American Indian and Alaska Native women and men on various indicators, including psychological aggression, physical violence, sexual violence, and stalking. As you will hear, the levels of violence among this population are shocking and disturbing. And while the data are certainly extremely informative, there is still so much we don't know. So I can't stress enough the need for additional data and research on this population, but know that NIJ is deeply committed to making this happen. Our hope is that at the end of our seminar, you walk away with greater insight and information that can be used to make informed decisions about policies, and programs, and practices, and community action that ultimately can address violence and victimization. But before I introduce our panelist, I’d first like to make a few acknowledgements. First, Dr. Rosay's study was truly made possible because of NIJ's collaboration with the CDC and the Department of Defense, where we intended to partner and implement the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey data collection effort in 2010. Without this collective effort, I'd have to say we would not have the data and we certainly would not have the report that has come from this important work. I also want to acknowledge Christine Crossland, the lead scientist on this project, for her continued work over the years. We truly appreciate all of her work and dedication. Lastly, I want to also acknowledge the women and men who participated in our study and shared their experiences. Because of their participation, we are better informed about their experiences and can take action to improve our prevention and intervention efforts. So now, let me introduce our panelist and discussants. Dr. André Rosay is the Director of the Justice Center at the University of Alaska Anchorage, from — and from 2012 to up until a few months ago, he was a visiting executive research fellow at here at NIJ, working with our scientists on research, examining violence against Indian women lived — living-in tribal communities. Dr. Rosay's prime area of expertise is violence against women, particularly in American Indian and Alaska Native communities. He is also the principal investigator for the Alaska Victimization Survey. He has worked closely with tribal communities in Alaska, working with practitioners to conduct community-based participatory research that influences policy and practice. In addition, he has worked very closely with the Alaska legislature and other government agencies to make sure they can translate research to real world applications. Carrie Bettinger-Lopez is a White House Advisor on Violence Against Women. Prior to joining the White House, Carrie was associate professor of legal — of clinical legal education, and founder of the director — founder and director of the Human Rights Clinic at the University of Miami School of Law, where her advocacy and scholarship focused on violence against women, gender, and race discrimination, and immigrants' rights. Prior to her legal career, Carrie engaged in social service advocacy and youth education centered on women's and girls' empowerment, as well as anti-violence programming. While serving in the White House, Carrie coordinates efforts to reduce domestic violence, sexual assault, and gender violence issues. Carrie Bettinger-Lopez is the senior advisor to Vice President Biden and serves on the White House Council on Women and Girls. Bea Hanson is the Principal Deputy Director of the Department of Justice's Office on Violence Against Women. In her role, Bea serves as a liaison between the Department of Justice, and federal state, and tribal, and international governments on matters relating to violence against women. She is responsible for developing the department's legal and policy position regarding the implementation, the Violence Against Women Act, and oversees an annual budget for over four hundred million dollars. Bea has served in this capacity since May of 2011. Joye Frost is the Director of the Office for Victims of Crime. During her previous tenure as OVC's Acting Director and Principal Deputy Director, she launched the Vision 21, transforming victim services initiative to expand the reach and impact of the victims' assistance field. She forced closer ties with state Victims of Crime Act administrators, and championed the integration of innovation with research and OVC's efforts to build capacity in the field. She fostered a groundbreaking partnership between OVC and the Department of Defense, to strengthen support to military victims of sexual assault, and greatly expanded OVC's work to assist victims in Indian Country. She was instrumental in the development of OVC's Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, and Sexual Assault Response Team Training and Technical Assistance Initiatives, and spearheaded a number of OVC's projects to identify and serve victims of crimes with disabilities. She's also implemented and oversees a discretionary grant program to fund comprehensive services to victims of human trafficking. Truly, a highly distinguished panel, whose intellect, I would say, and professional experience is only matched with their dedication to really use research and evidence to guide how best to serve victims of crime. I will say that there is no other agency that is more grateful for your leadership and your willingness to lead with science than us here at NIJ. So I thank you all for that. So for our format today, Dr. Rosay will begin by presenting an overview of his key findings, then we'll move to reactions and comments from our discussants, and then I will then moderate a Q&A. I should note that this seminar is being audio and video recorded, and the slides and audio and information will be integrated and available within a few weeks on NIJ.gov. So with that, I turn it over to Dr. Rosay.
DR. ANDRÉ ROSAY: Thank you, Nancy, for those introductions. As Nancy mentioned, my name is André Rosay. I'm the Director of the Justice Center at the University of Alaska Anchorage, and I was an Executive Visiting Research Fellow here at the National Institute of Justice from 2012 to 2016, when this body of work was completed. The work, if I can switch slides, was funded by the National Institute of Justice, but it's important for me to emphasize that the opinions, the findings, the conclusions, recommendations, both in the research report and in this presentation, they are mine and they obviously do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of Justice. As Nancy mentioned, my work was based on the National Intimate Partner Sexual Violence Survey, which was started by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2010, with some supplemental funding from the National Institute of Justice and the U.S. Department of Defense. This is a nationally representative survey that is conducted by phone, using both landlines and cell phones. And it asks detailed behaviorally-specific questions about psychological aggression by intimate partners, about physical violence by intimate partners, about stalking, and about sexual violence. It also asks some questions about the impact of violence, and that includes some very important information about the race of the perpetrators. In 2010, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention collected data from a general population sample. These were adult women and men throughout the United States, and some of them did identify themselves as American Indian or as Alaska Native. CDC produced the report using data from this general population sample and that report is available on the CDC website. In addition with NIJ funding, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention collected data from an oversample of American Indians and Alaska Natives. This oversample was collected from geographical areas where at least half of the population was identified as American Indian or as Alaska Native. So, for my study, I combined these two samples and examined all adult women and men who identified themselves as American Indian or as Alaska Native, alone or in combination with another racial group. So, in the end, we obtained information from almost 1,500 men — I'm sorry, more than 1,500 men and almost 2,500 women who identified themselves as American Indian or as Alaska Native. It's important to emphasize that these women and men did not need to be affiliated or enrolled with a tribe or an Alaska Native village. Instead, they had to identify themselves as being American Indian or as Alaska Native. Nonetheless, you can see that the majority of the adult men and women in this combined sample were affiliated or enrolled with a tribe or a village. More than half had lived within reservation boundaries or in an Alaska Native village at some point in their life. And more than half had done so in the past year. So, for this presentation, I am going to focus on the five key conclusions that emerged from this report. And there is a flier, show that to everybody. That should be on your chair and it should be available on the NIJ website soon. These are the five key conclusions that emerged from the report. First, most American Indian and Alaska Native adults have experienced violence at some point in their lifetime. Our second key conclusion was an American Indian and Alaska Native men and women are victimized at similar rates. But as you will see, in very different ways, in particular, women were more likely to have experienced stalking, and they're more likely to have experienced sexual violence. Third, we often found that the victimization rates were significantly higher for American Indians and Alaska Natives than there were for people who identified themselves as white and as non-Hispanic. Fourth, we found that female victims are more likely than male victims to need services, but unfortunately, they were significantly less likely to have access to those services. And then finally, we found that interracial violence was far more prevalent than intraracial violence. As you will see, almost all American Indian and Alaska Native victims had experienced violence at least once in their lifetime by at least one perpetrator who was not American Indian or Alaska Native. I think it's important to emphasize that these results are not necessarily new. Many of these we've seen before. We've heard these conclusions before. But a lot of the prior research was based on small or on local samples, such as for example samples from the Alaska Victimization Survey. What's new here is that we've strengthened the science. We've increased our sample size. We now have a large nationally representative sample that can be used to draw some firm conclusions about violence against American Indian and Alaska Native men and women. So, in this presentation, I will provide a few more details about these five key conclusions; but obviously, there are significantly more details in the full research report. So, our first conclusion as I mentioned was that most American Indian and Alaska Native adults have experienced violence at some point in their lifetime. We found that 83- percent had experienced some form of violence at some point in their lifetime. The forms of violence that we examined, again, includes psychological aggression and physical violence by intimate partners, it includes stalking, and it includes sexual violence. Overall, we found that more than four in five American Indian or Alaska Native adults, more than four in five have experienced some form of violence at some point in their lifetime. I think it's important to emphasize that these estimates do have some important limitations. In particular, this, as I mentioned earlier, was a survey that was conducted by phone, therefore excluded people that did not have access to a phone or people whose perpetrators did not allow them to answer the phone. The survey was only conducted in English and in Spanish. It was not conducted in any indigenous languages. And it's obviously not possible for a survey to measure all possible forms of violence. And as you know, perpetrators can be quite creative in finding ways to victimize others. In particular, the survey includes no information about human trafficking. As with all surveys, the estimates were obviously impacted by recall errors and they're impacted by the continuing stigma that's associated with disclosing of victimization. So, I think that's particularly important when disclosing victimizations to a stranger on the phone. And then finally, the most important limitation that I need to emphasize is that these are prevalence estimates. They examine whether people have or haven't experienced violence in their lifetime. They do not examine how often people have experienced violence or how many different types of violence they have experienced. Nonetheless, I think the survey does have some very important strengths and they provide a voice to millions of American Indians and Alaska Natives that have experienced violence in their lifetime. Overall, we found that almost three million American Indian and Alaska Native people have experienced violence in their lifetime. And keep in mind that some of them have experienced violence multiple times. Some of them have experienced multiple forms of violence. And others have experienced violence that was not included in the survey. Our second conclusion, again, was that women and men were victimized at similar rates but in different ways. We found that 84 percent of women and 82 percent of men had experienced violence at some point in their lifetime. Overall, more than one and a half million American Indian and Alaska Native women, and more than 1.4 million American Indian and Alaska Native men had experienced violence at some point in their lifetime. But as I mentioned, they were victimized in different ways. Here are the lifetime prevalence estimates for violence against American Indians and Alaska Natives. We found that for American Indian and Alaska Native women, more than half had experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner. More than half had experienced physical violence by an intimate partner. More than half had experienced sexual violence. And almost half had experienced stalking. We found that American Indian and Alaska Native men had experienced similarly high levels of psychological aggression and physical violence by intimate partners, but women were significantly more likely to have experience sexual violence or stalking in their lifetime. In the next slide are the past year prevalence estimates. These are obviously quite a bit lower, but they're equally alarming. More than a quarter, more than one out of every four American Indian and Alaska Native women had experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner in the past year. One in 12 had experienced physical violence by an intimate partner. One in seven had experienced sexual violence. And one in nine had experienced stalking. Overall, 40 percent, two out of every five American Indian and Alaska Native women had experienced some form of violence just in the past year. For men, we found that more than a quarter had experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner. One in 18 had experienced physical violence by an intimate partner. One in 10 had experienced sexual violence. And one in 26 had experienced stalking. So, overall, 35 percent, more than one out of every three American Indian and Alaska Native men had experienced violence just in the past year. Our third key findings was that the victimization rates were often significantly higher for American Indians and Alaska Natives than there were for people who identified themselves as white and non-Hispanic. The lifetime rates were 1.2 times as high for American Indian and Alaska Native women than they were for women who identified themselves as non-Hispanic and white. And for men, the rates were 1.3 times higher. The past year, differences are even greater for women. We found that the past-year prevalence rate for American Indian and Alaska Native women was almost two times as high as the prevalence rate for women who identified themselves as white and non-Hispanic. Now, moving on to the impact of violence. Overall, we found that for both women and men, the most common service needs were medical care and for legal services. But we also found that violence has a disproportionate impact on American Indian and Alaska Native women. They were more likely to be physically injured, they were more likely to need services, and they were more likely to need medical care. This perhaps implies that the form of violence that American Indian and Alaska Native women experience is more severe than other forms of violence. More specifically among victims, we found that 41 percent of women had physical injuries, half, 49 percent needed services, and more than a third, 38 percent needed medical care, but again, among American Indian and Alaska Native female victims who needed services, more than one out of every three were not able to get the services that they needed. So 38 percent of the women who needed services were not able to get the services that they needed. These results are important because they continue to highlight the disparities and health outcomes. They continue to highlight the disparities in access to healthcare, and they continue to highlight the need for additional services, a need that's been documented extensively before, including by OVC in the Vision 21 reports. Our last key finding was that interracial violence was far more prevalent than intraracial violence. We found that almost all American Indian and Alaska Native victims had experienced violence by at least one perpetrator, who is not American Indian or Alaska Native, at least once in their lifetime. You can see that among victims, 97 percent of women and 90 percent of men had experienced violence by an interracial perpetrator at least once in their lifetime. The prevalence for intraracial violence was significantly lower with about a third of American Indian and Alaska Native victims experiencing violence from another American Indian or Alaska Native person. We found similar results for all types of violence that were examined in the report. For each type, you can see that almost all victims had experienced interracial violence, and this was true for both women and for men. In some ways, these results are not entirely surprising, given the relative size of the American-Indian and Alaska Native population, but until recently, tribes had no authority to prosecute non-Indian offenders even when those crimes were committed in Indian Country. So this result is incredibly important and it supports the sovereign right of federally recognized tribes to prosecute non-Indian offenders. These results, I also think, are important because they provide, again, a voice to millions of American Indians and Alaska Natives that have been impacted by violence. They provide a voice to almost three million people. They continue to support the need for additional services, and again, they continue to support the sovereign right of fairly recognized tribes to prosecute non-Indian perpetrators. As Nancy did earlier, I do want to thank the men and the women who participated in the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey. Unfortunately, we made many of them relive horrendous experiences, ones that none of us should be subjected to, so that we could learn a little bit more about violence against American Indian and Alaska Native people. I hope that their voices will raise our awareness and our understanding of this problem, and that it will lead to meaningful and lasting improvements in the safety and well-being for all women and men. And I also wanted to acknowledge Christine Crossland, and thank you for her support over the last four years in getting this project done. So thank you very much. I — and my contact information is on the screen. Thank you.
CARRIE BETTINGER-LOPEZ: Hi, everybody, I'm Carrie Bettinger-Lopez, again, from the White House. And thank you, André, for that presentation. Those statistics and that information, I just have to say is — it really makes me sick, right? It makes all of us just — it should make us rattle in our seats and shake all of us up. We need to do something as a federal government, and as individuals, and as a country to respond to this, so thank you. Thank you so much for collecting this data. I have prepared remarks and I'm going off-script but I just — I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart, and on behalf of the Vice President and the White House for this incredibly important information. I just want to start with a couple of greetings and then get back to the meat of the study. Nancy, I want to thank you and acknowledge you for inviting me and the White House to be a part of this incredibly important discussion. I bring greetings to everybody from the Vice President, who, unfortunately, could not be with us today, but who is so — also committed to the issues that are present in this study. As you know, he has had a career-long commitment to ending and eradicating violence against women and girls and violence in communities generally, and he is especially committed to improving the response to violence against Native American and Alaska Native women. I'm also thrilled to be here with my wonderful colleagues, Bea Hanson and Joye Frost. And I just want to acknowledge your agencies are doing such important work alongside the tribal partners that we all work with, and the community leaders. You're doing such important work to address domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking in tribal communities, and I'm just so grateful for our partnership and for the knowledge and experience and support that you provide to all of us and to the White House. And I also just want to particularly commend Christine, and of course, André for undertaking such a large-scale research project, and of course, such a project can be daunting, but the complexities of violence in Indian Country make it doubly so. Your diligence and commitment to getting this right helps us to take the needle to the next level, and this data, which has previously been so scarce, and still needs incredible amounts of development, is such an important foundation for us to build upon. So I, as I said, have been, you know, anxiously awaiting, as so many of us, this data and the release of this report, and I was just so stunned when I read this data. I've now heard the presentation a few times and just — I'm kind of stunned and reviled every time I hear it, and I don't need to underscore for you what André just said, right? Nearly every person who was interviewed, 83 percent, right? Which is almost everybody, especially accounting for the gaps that you identified as having been a victim of violence. And that figure about the interracial perpetration, that close to a hundred percent of the victims identified as having experienced violence from an interracial perpetrator is just unacceptable. The data for male victims in particular were higher than we've seen in the past, and it's something that really merits our consideration and deeper thinking about policy responses, and so we need to pay very close attention to this report and what it's telling us we need to do from a law and policy perspective to respond. I want to just mention — and I'm sure Bea and Joye will get into this — that the federal government has taken several important steps to address violence against native women. It is not enough. We need to see it as a beginning, and continue to expand our vision, and be consulting every step of the way with our tribal colleagues and community partners who are providing guidance for how this — how this needs to evolve. Of course, the special domestic violence criminal jurisdiction provisions of the Violence Against Women Act of 2013 recognize tribes' inherent power to exercise special criminal domestic violence jurisdiction over non-Indian offenders who commit domestic violence, dating violence, or who violate a protection order. And that gets to this critical interracial piece that André underscored. My understanding is that 10 tribes have now implemented those special domestic violence criminal jurisdiction provisions and many more are working on it. They need funding. They need resources. They need support in order to be able to do that, and that's all of our job, to help them with that. The data show that interracial perpetration is unacceptably high, and many of us saw that last week, when we saw the “Sliver of a Full Moon” performed at the Museum of the American Indian, which is an incredible play. I encourage all of you to check it out online and to see the way in which the VAWA 2013 provisions have been captured in such a dramatic form in theater and through victims and survivors themselves as well as advocates. I just want to make a note that VAWA 13, the Violence Against Women Act of 2013, was a major milestone. Many people in this room worked so hard to make that happen. But I want to say 2018, the reauthorization is right around the corner, folks, and painful as that might be for many of us to think about, it is so important that we be mobilizing, that we be using this report to — as a catalyst to think about what we need to do as a federal government in the reauthorization and the next reauthorization to address some of these critical issues. We've been speaking with tribal groups and we will soon be convening stakeholders at the White House and through listening sessions and phone calls to help us understand their VAWA 2018 wish list. Last week, we had the United State of Women Summit here in Washington, D.C., which was an incredible success. And I personally heard repeatedly, from tribal advocates, that they want to see the criminal jurisdiction provisions of the Violence Against Women Act expanded to include child abuse and sexual assault. It's something we are closely listening to and we're working to learn more and continue these conversations. I also want to just flag that Joye is going to be discussing some really important developments in the Victims of Crime Act space and new developments in forthcoming regulations that we're very excited about that will greatly expand the services that local funds can be used for, and we should be thinking deeply and broadly and in consultation with tribal leaders about how those funds can be used to support programming that can adjust the health needs, the legal needs, and the other deficits that André identified. And finally, I just want to close, you know, kind of big picture, we always talk in the White House now were in the very end of the final quarter. We have, I think, seven months — just short of seven months now to the day left — and I've been so proud that this administration has taken a hard look as this report reflects at where gaps, stereotypes, and biases lie in our system. And we have and we need to continue beyond this administration to develop legal and social frameworks that focus not only on individual culpability, but also on systemic reform. These initiatives must address root causes. They must challenge stereotypes of victims of gender violence. They must curb victim-blaming and make headway on the prevention front, and they must, very critically, bring to the center those survivors who have traditionally been placed at the margins, including Native American women. I do want to mention just a transnational component of this. We are in active conversations with our colleagues in Canada and Mexico right now about the dynamics and dimensions of these very similar problems in those two countries, and so as we think about the ways in which these issues manifest in the United States, we should also be thinking about their transnational and international manifestations and implications, particularly as they implicate our border tribes and our border regions. The Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has recently launched a national inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women in Canada, which is a huge problem in Canada. And so we're committed to working with that government and with other governments to thinking about important connections here. My last thing I'll just say is that it goes without saying that further study on violence in Indian Country and other — and amongst Native American populations is critical to understanding our — the challenges that are faced by women, men, and children in tribal communities. This new report opens up deeper questions about Native American men, women, and their victimization experiences. It raises questions about the dynamics of sexual and physical abuse, and clearly points to weaknesses in access to healthcare and other services. The report validates so much of what we already know, but at the same time, it makes us want to know so much more. So thank you, Nancy. Thanks everybody at NIJ, Christine, and others for bringing us together for this incredibly important conversation, and I look forward to the dialogue. Thanks.
BEA HANSON: Good morning, everybody. So I too want to thank André. I think this is the third time I've heard him do this and, you know, I — you know, I — every time I hear it, I think about, you know, we — there's so much I think the administration has been doing to address Violence Against Women in Indian Country and there's just so much more that we've got to do, so thank you, André for that. And I want to thank Nancy and the team at NIJ for putting this all together. You know, I think, this morning, when I was thinking about what I wanted to talk about, I think, you know, two concepts came to mind for me. One was the whole idea of trust responsibility. And the legal and the moral obligation of the United States government and those of us that are privileged enough to work in it, to protect Native American women and Alaska Native women, and to protect American Indians and Alaska Natives in general. And that — part of that is carrying out any kind of mandates that are put toward the federal government in a timely way, and that's, you know, what many of us are here charged to do. You know, and then — you know, when you — when you talk about issues of trust responsibility, I think, then, issues of paternalism also come up; and so the other concept is the whole concept of sovereignty and how do we — how do we support and respect tribal decision-making and how do we support and respect tribal traditions and tribal cultures? You know, and this all — you know, it all sounds, you know, good and, you know, we talk about these things. And — you know, and then I think about many of us in this room are here on the ground, doing that work, you know, so I want to thank my OVW colleagues who are here from our — from our tribal unit and Lorraine Edmo, who heads up our tribal unit at OVW, and other folks here that are doing this work that, you know, when we talk about how do we really in — how do we really look at that trust responsibility, and how do we — how do we adhere to issues of tribal sovereignty, you know, when we know that tribes are just dealing with so much. You know, there's not enough funding. There's not enough money for tribes to be able to even have basic infrastructure, you know. Those of you who have gone to Indian Country, you know, that, you know, as soon as you crossover into Indian Country, you have no cell service. You know, so how do we — you know, these are just some basic things, to things like, you know, how do we deal with changes in tribal governments? How do we — you know, and the fact that we've — we're providing funding and we want to have consistent funding to tribes, knowing that tribal governments are changing every year or every two years, and those programs that we're funding on the ground are trying to work with a changing government in terms of getting the buy-in that they need to ensure that their work is happening, so, you know — and all of the other issues that tribes are dealing with. So, you know, I think about these things because, you know, we're — you know, we're in the — in the — in — at OVW, we're in the position of giving grants out, and that's one of the things that we do. So we have three different grant programs. One is a grant to tribal government. We have a — also sexual assault program and then also one that provides funding in tribal coalitions. So last year, we gave over 43 million dollars to 89 different tribes around the country. So — and these are funds that tribes rely on every year to do the things that they — that they — that they need to do within their — within their tribes to support their tribal justice system, to support victim services for tribes, to increase their capacity to deal with sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. So we try to provide those funds every year. It's a difficult decision and we're in the process now through the entire department, through our Coordinated Tribal Assistance solicitation to decide which tribes are getting funding and which ones aren't, and how much money we have to give. So, you know, when we look at this idea of a — of a — of a trust responsibility and sovereignty, you know, I think it's with a heavy heart that we look at these kinds of statistics about this incredible need, and how do we keep, sort of, chipping away at a problem that's been going on for a really, really, long time? You know, because I look at all of the things — you know, I've got pages and pages of stuff that we've done, you know. And, you know, and I think that it's — how do we look at all of these little pieces that we do that individually may not feel like a huge thing, but is — makes a big difference. In 2014, went on a tour with Lorraine Edmo to — as a — as part of the 20th Anniversary of VAWA. We visited tribes all across the country. One of the tribes we visited was in Alaska. Was — we visited five Alaska Native villages, one of them was Kake. And Kake is a small, isolated village on an — on an island where a couple of years ago, a young woman was brutally sexually assaulted and killed by another person who lived on Kake, another young — a young boy. The law enforcement — this happened in — at night. The law enforcement didn't show up until late the next morning, so just imagine being in a community where, for about 12 hours, you have a killer on the loose, you've got somebody who has been brutally murdered, and no response from, you know, any kind of EMS service, any kind of law enforcement service, and really requires people in their communities to take that on themselves. Many Alaska Native villages, if they have any kind of law enforcement, it's a village public safety officer, probably the only people in all of Alaska who aren't able to — authorized to carry a weapon, so that's your — that's your protection in some of those Alaska Native villages. So, you know, so those are the things that we deal with. I think in terms of response, you know, there's many, many things that we've been doing. We've been partnering with OVC and EOUSA on a national Indian Country training initiative to provide training that's very steeped in Native American cultures and traditions. I'm dealing with issues of sexual violence, on issues of alcohol-facilitated rape, on how to — we've been working — we've been working with OVC as well on issues of how to do laypeople providing sexual assault forensic exams, and that kind of intervention because many tribes don't have access to those — to those kinds of services. We reached out to Alaska, the Attorney General of Alaska, because the state wasn't enforcing tribal protection orders as — within their state system, and so we reached out to him, and said, "This has got to change." So, a year ago, they changed that. So now, Alaska State Troopers have been told that they need to enforce tribal protections orders that happened in the state of Alaska. We fund a number of training and technical assistance projects. We fund one through the Southwest Center for Law and Policy, which is a National Indian Center — Indian Country Clearinghouse on Sexual Assault, so it's NICCSA.org, which is a national resource around sexual violence in Indian Country. The, you know, the — Carrie had mentioned the special domestic violence criminal jurisdiction. So one of the major things that happened in VAWA 13 was allowing — was giving back tribes’ ability to prosecute non-natives who commit crimes against native women in cases of domestic violence. We — I think, as soon — as soon as that law passed, we quickly went to implement — to help implement, and that's part of that whole issue of the trust responsibility, of once legislation passes, to make sure that we're providing support to tribes, so now we have 10 tribes that are implementing the jurisdiction, as Carrie mentioned. And we have 45 tribes that are part of an intertribal working group around implementation of that — of that law. And then just closing today is our — is our first grant program for communities to exercise a special domestic violence criminal jurisdiction, so we have 2.5 million dollars that will be available to tribes to help develop model codes for tribes, indigent defense for defendants, but to help tribes create those model systems. So, you know, I think we're excited about amazing things that we've been able to do. There's so much more that we have to do in Indian Country. And, you know, it's important, as we look to the future, to remember that the progress we make results from the work of committed advocates, activists, policymakers, law enforcement officers, government folks like us, and mostly the brave survivors who tirelessly fight violence against women in all of our communities. OVW is committed to decreasing the numbers of Native American women who fall victim to violence, to strengthening the capacity of tribal governments to respond to violent crimes, and to assuring that perpetrators are held accountable. As we continue to implement the Violence Against Women Act — and we have more work to do together to make the changes envisioned by VAWA real for the lives of American Indian and Alaska Native women, and we can do that together, so thank you.
JOYE FROST: So good morning, everyone. It's an absolute pleasure to be here, and I, of course, want to thank NIJ, and Nancy Rodriguez, Christine Crossland, all the NIJ staff that were involved in this. And, of course, Dr. Rosay, and it's always a pleasure to share the stage with Carrie, and be — they have already laid the groundwork for our much of what I was going to say, but I've never been known to be short for words, so I will add to that. And I just want to start by saying I've been at OVC 19-and-a-half years, and when I was living in Texas at the time, and I had a telephonic interview, and I learned that I was going to be working with our federal division on Indian Country issues, and I was so excited, and I got to OVC, and for a lot of complex reasons, was told, "Well, we've changed our mind. You're going over to our discretionary grant side." And I was so disappointed, but, you know, as they say, be careful what you ask for because you may get it. And I say that not in a negative way because I have found working with the advocates, and service providers, and federal, and tribal law enforcement, and prosecutors in Indian Country to be the — some of the most meaningful work in OVC, and, yes, there are huge challenges. Every time I think I really do understand the jurisdictional issues, something else pops up, but I am — I will tell you, I am amazed at the resilience, and the tenacity, and the passion, and the ability of advocates and service providers in Indian Country, and what they're able to do with so little. And then you start thinking, "What could they do if they had the infrastructure and resources?" So, this has been a real challenge for us, and I say it's an — I think I speak for everybody in OVC who works on these issues, it's an honor and a privilege. And we, ourselves, have learned — have acquired innovations that people are doing in Indian Country, you know. Most innovation comes from the necessity to solve the problem, and it is — it is really quite stunning what they have done, but I do want to talk a little bit about what OVC does to support victim assistance in an — in Indian Country, and, of course, our agency has responsibility for all crime victims, from child victims to victims of elder abuse, male, female. So, I found — even though this research focuses on men and women, I found it extremely helpful. Some surprises, not too many. People who have worked in Indian Country have known much of this anecdotally, but it makes all the difference in the world when you can tie what you think needs to be done to research that supports that. Most people don't realize that OVC actually has a federal mandate in our Victims of Crime Act to support federal crime victims and that includes tribal victims. And those are, at this point, the only services that we can support with our discretionary moneyare are the federal crime victims. Services to other victims are supported through our discretionary — I mean, our formula Victim Assistance and Compensation funding, and the greatest percentage of VOCA funding goes directly to the states. So just quickly. With the Bureau of Indian Affairs, we support several service provider positions including Pine Ridge in South Dakota, the Bakken Region in North Dakota, Spirit Lake, in east-central North Dakota, and the San Carlos Apache in Arizona. And we already know that in Pine Ridge, victim participation with the criminal justice system and other service systems has increased since the first of two victim specialists have been hired. They've increased victim participation in court hearings, federal and tribal, victim interviews, child forensic interviews, meetings with the AUSA, medical treatment, mental health services, and victim testimony at sentencings. We also have a mandate in our local statute to support FBI victim specialists, and we were able to give them more specialists this year to greatly increase the number of specialists in Indian Country. And a project that I want to talk to that is near and dear to my heart, is Flandreau Indian School because I think this kind of ties in, even though we're talking about mostly youth under 18, but a few over 18, it really does reflect many of the findings in André's research. We partnered with the Flandreau Indian School in South Dakota for the past five years, and we provide funding and technical assistance to support their efforts to attack — establish a trauma-informed system of care, and here is where it gets really innovative. Equipping all staff from teachers to food services, to dorm counselors, with the tools they need to identify and support students in a way that does not create additional trauma. We all know about the historical trauma that Native American and Alaska Native populations have experienced, when you layer over that additional violence and victimization. Many of these children are — well, they're not being forcibly removed and placed in boarding schools, many of these schools, like the Flandreau Indian School, are operational today, and are considered a home away from home to hundreds of at-risk youth. And early on in this project, a local researcher worked with a school staff to survey students about their histories of victimization. I think it was slightly under 300 students, male and female. Every student, except one, reported experiencing at least one type of victimization, and most reporting multiple types. One of the most ambitious projects that we have embarked on is the Tribal Victim Services Resource Mapping project. Part of our Vision 21 was the understanding that we need all different kinds of information and data in research to put together the most effective strategic responses to victimization, to all victimization, but certainly in Indian Country. So, we, last year, awarded funding to several entities including the National Center for Victims of Crime, the National Congress of American Indians, and the Tribal Law and Policy Institute to literally map where Victim Assistance and other resources are in Indian Country. So, we hope to develop and publish a tool that maps out current services. And we'll add to it as the services get added, helping victims and others get access to the information they need. And I think also to help federal agencies make the planning, funding, and policy decisions that they need to make. Well, I just got the two-minute sign, so I'm going to move right down to my concluding remarks, and I want to say that taking action and waiting for the research to catch up with what — with what folks who are in the trenches already know is not ideal, and it points to a need to continue to advocate for funds to support a robust research agenda on crime victimization among American Indian and Alaska Native populations. So, OVC gives its assurances to NIJ and the research field that we will continue to support this vital, vital research. And, at this point, I do want to circle back to OVC's Vision 21: Transforming Victim Services, and in that report, we talked about the lack of data and research to support and direct the field of response to crime victims. And we also talked about the lack of resources in Indian Country. We literally ended the Vision 21 report, released in 2013, with the statement, "Stakeholders recognized the need to target resources for federally recognized tribes, tribal organizations, and federal agencies responsible for victim assistance in Indian Country. OVC and the victim assistance field, particularly tribal advocacy organizations, should work with Congress to ensure that victims in Indian Country are no longer a footnote to this country's response to crime victims." Dr. Rosay's research is an important body of knowledge that will help guide our efforts. I think most of you will — are aware of the greatly expanded VOCA funding for the last two fiscal years. VOCA administrators in several states — including Oklahoma and Washington most recently — are already greatly expanding VOCA funding to the tribes. And Carrie mentioned this in her remarks, "OVC learned very late, yesterday afternoon, that the Office of Management and Budget has approved OVC’s revised VOCA assistance rule, which after publication in the Federal Register for 30 days, will enable the states and service providers to greatly expand both the amount of services as well as the kind of services that they will provide to all crime victims including that in Indian Country." Things — we've deleted tribal match, for example, in the new rule. We have removed the restriction that prevents VOCA funding being used to support victims who are in detention or correctional facilities. It greatly expands the ability of the states to fund legal assistance, transitional housing relocation services, and so forth. So when that rule does become final, you will probably hear the cheering across many state VOCA administrators and more so from many service providers. Also just want to say that if the appropriations activity on the Hill is any indicator, there may well be a tribal set aside for VOCA funding. And I think research like Dr. Rosay's plays an important part of convincing Congress why such a set-aside is needed. So to end, sometimes the stars do align. Expansion of cutting-edge research and exponential increase in funding for victims, and more programmatic and policy flexibility that reduces bureaucracy to more effectively address the needs of victims. I want to thank all of my colleagues at OVC, NIJ, OJP, DOJ, OVW, OVP it goes on and on for all the work you do for crime victims, and I know we will work together in the future on behalf of victims in Indian Country. Thank you.
NANCY RODRIGUEZ: Wonderful. I told you it was an all-star panel, right? And I was not kidding during my opening remarks that these individuals truly do lead with science. So, now it's my time to moderate our Q&A, and I'll begin and then we'll certainly open it up to individuals here with us today. So, I think — I mean we — we've certainly heard, you know, André present some of the key findings. And I'm curious from our actual, you know, discussions, the findings around the high levels of interracial victimization, I think, are certainly striking. So, I'm curious to hear from our panelists, what are the things that local state, tribal, and federal agencies can do to address this particular form of victimization. So, really, the question around interracial victimization, so why don't we begin with maybe Carrie?
CARRIE BETTINGER-LOPEZ: Okay. I'm happy to say a few words, but…
NANCY RODRIGUEZ: Good. Absolutely.
CARRIE BETTINGER-LOPEZ: I really defer to my expert agency colleagues over here. I mean — and just to reiterate, I think we need to be, first and foremost, listening to the voices from the tribes to survivors, and to community leaders to be asking them what they think the federal government needs to be doing to support local initiatives. As I just mentioned, you know, the things that I just keep hearing are that the special criminal jurisdiction provisions are working, that they need more time to bake, but they also need more resources and support from the federal government, and, of course, as I mentioned, that they need to be expanded. And that is what I keep hearing from the field, and so I'm very keen to learn more about how advocates and survivors think that those can best be operationalized through law and policy. I also think that, you know, along the lines of what Bea and Joye said, that opportunities to expand medical and legal services in particular for this — the population, which is, you know, three million people essentially that we're talking about or more, need to be made available. That is our job to think creatively about how we can do that. And we're seeing major inroads in that through these new VOCA regulations, and through the various funding opportunities through the Office of Violence Against Women. I will say that — and we've talked with Joye and Bea — about this that with this new VOCA — with these new VOCA regulations come a really important opportunity for engaging with the state administrators, of course, and OVC does this masterfully. And I think that we can all, you know, think about ways in which perhaps the White House and other agencies can support OVC's work to really promote this message with the state administrators. I mean, just the way Joye flagged it just now, framing these new categories in terms of correctional facilities, or legal services, or transitional housing and relocation in terms of tribal victims' needs, I think is a really powerful framing, and making that link for state administrators who don't necessarily — who wouldn’t necessarily make that link themselves is critical. So, those are just a couple of ideas.
NANCY RODRIGUEZ: Great.
BEA HANSON: Yeah. I think, you know, I think it was a watershed moment when VAWA 13 was reauthorized, and then include the special domestic violence criminal jurisdiction. So, you know, it's rolling back some of the restrictions, you know, in Alfont and I think that rolling back that further is — I know what tribes are really asking for. You know, the — some of the original tribes that started exercising the jurisdiction like Pascua Yaqui particularly, you know, had talked about the cases that they're seeing where there's cases of domestic violence and they can prosecute the non-Indian defender for the violence that he's committed against native women, but they can't do anything about the kids. And they can only prosecute around domestic violence cases. So, you know, I think they've got some real — I think that the tribes that have been exercising the jurisdiction have got some real good case examples of where this is, you know, this is a wedge in a door, but we need to open it much further. You know, since February of this year, the 10 tribes that have implemented the criminal jurisdiction have made a total of 51 arrests. There’s been 18 guilty pleas in those 51 arrests and five of them had been referred to federal prosecutions. Some of them included this — then there's — in addition to that, there's some dismissals and still some pending. So, you know, so I think that this is a move in a — in a good direction. I think the other thing that we'll see because our solicitation closes on the implementation of the special criminal jurisdiction and providing funds to tribes, I think we'll get a sense of what kind of additional funds are needed and what tribes are requesting to be able to do that — to do that work. So, I think that's just a couple of additions.
JOYE FROST: Well, I hope this isn't out in left field, but one of the things that I see is that when we address crime and victimization in Indian Country it's really no differently than addressing crime and victimization in this country as whole, and I particularly think of the inner city, low-income neighborhoods with high rates of violence. Yeah, and the Criminal Justice and Victim Assistance bills cannot solve this problem by themselves, and I want to give an example. I mentioned Flandreau Indian School, and I think what we're doing is very much needed. But one of the things — I've been to Flandreau and went on a tour, and one of the things that struck me was that knowing that most of the kids graduating from Flandreau are not going on to college. Some are, but most aren't. There are these incredible state of the art mechanical — auto mechanical, and carpentry, and other kinds of shops at Flandreau Indian School, and they sit empty. And I'm just going to say they sit empty because of federal bureaucracy. And I'll leave it at that. We can do better. And one thing that the White House has done is institute a strategic action plan for victims of human trafficking. And I would love to see something like that for Indian Country which forces all the federal agencies whether it's Department of Education, Bureau of Indian Education, BIA, all of the — you know, labor, all of the federal agencies to come together, develop a comprehensive plan, understand where the gaps are, where we can work together, and I think, you know, it will make a huge difference. And so, that's what I'm throwing out. I do think federal agencies have an important role. And one of the most common complaints that we hear in Indian Country, of course, is working about — working with federal agencies, and we can do better.
NANCY RODRIGUEZ: All right. So, now let me take it to, I guess, a different level. And I think we've all heard from all of our presenters mention the key role of individuals literally in the ground, right? Those advocates, those working with their respective local entities, local governments. So, I ask each one of you, given again these findings, what would you like for a practitioner, whether it be that advocate, whether it be a police officer, or prosecutor, heath professional, what do you want them to take away from these particular findings? Let me begin with André.
DR. ANDRÉ ROSAY: You know, I think I'll go back to some of Joye's comments, and in some ways, I feel like we owe them an apology that it has taken this long for the science to back them up. They've been saying this for decades. For decades, they've talked about the high rates of interracial violence. For decades, they've talked about the needs for services. But unfortunately, we didn't have the strong science that we have today. And now, we find that for the most part, their conclusions were valid. And the researchers also confirmed what they've told us for decades.
NANCY RODRIGUEZ: I'm going to take this opportunity to maybe have you talk a little bit about the National Baseline Study, which I think is an important piece of our work in this area.
DR. ANDRÉ ROSAY: Sure. So, the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act in 2005 mandated the National Institute of Justice to conduct research on violence against Indian women living in tribal communities. My study contributes a little bit to that understanding, but it does not fulfill that mandate because my study, again, was about women and men who identify themselves as American Indian or Alaska Native. And it was not focused specifically on Indian Country including Alaska Native villages. So, the National Baseline Study will focus on Indian Country including Alaska Native villages. The National Institute of Justice is currently working with tribes that have been randomly selected to secure formal agreements to participate in the research. Households will then be randomly selected from those tribes and the adult women in those households will be asked to participate. And if they consent to participate, they will be asked questions are very similar to those in the National Intimate Partner And Sexual Violence Survey. They are, again, very detailed and behaviorally specific. But this survey will provide significantly more information about the needs for services. And, it will also capture the community strengths that exist in Indian Country. And I think that'll be particularly important as we identify how tribes are best positioned to develop prevention and intervention programs for the violence that occurs in their own communities. So, in partnership with American Indian Development Associates, NIJ is currently securing agreements — formal agreements from tribes. Data collection will begin soon, and the project should be completed by early 2018.
NANCY RODRIGUEZ: Thank you, André. Now let me — I think we've got some time now for some questions from our guests. So, I will — and please step up to the mic when addressing. Yeah, thank you.
YOLANDA CURTIS GIBSON: Do I also need to state my…
NANCY RODRIGUEZ: Yes, your — state your name.
YOLANDA CURTIS GIBSON: Okay. My name is Yolanda Curtis Gibson. I work in the Office for Victims of Crime. My question is for Dr. Rosay. For the crimes not committed by intimate partners, were you able to get data on relationships of non-Indian perpetuators? The reason why I ask this is because I tend to hear about, you know, children in boarding schools, and crimes committed against them by educators and then also [inaudible] men who, you know, well, victimized women through sex trafficking. I wasn't sure if you can validate that or have to find [inaudible] strategy.
DR. ANDRÉ ROSAY: Thank you for your question. I may need to repeat. I don't know if that microphone was on. This is about the relationship for those crime categories that were not restricted to intimate partners. So, the stalking and the sexual violence. That information is captured in the survey, but it is not information that we analyze for the reports. So, I think there's some additional information that could be examined including the age at which the stalking and the sexual violence began, and the relationship between the victim and the perpetrator that I think would address some of those questions. But unfortunately, at this point, those data have not been examined.
ADAM SPECTOR: Hello. Adam Spector at the Office of Communications. This is also for Dr. Rosay. When you're — you were going down the different types of violence that you measured and one of them was psychological aggression. How is that defined? Because it seems — I mean, to a layperson like myself, like that's a very subjective term.
DR. ANDRÉ ROSAY: So, psychological aggression includes expressive aggression. It includes the course of control and it includes the control of reproductive or sexual health. So, expressive aggression includes things like being told that you're a loser, a failure, or not good enough, or being called names like ugly, fat, crazy, or stupid. Course of control includes instances when individuals were threatened, so they may have been threatened with physical harm, or they were threatened by having their kids taken away from them, or they were controlled, so that they were kept from seeing their family or their friends or they were kept from having money for their own use. And then, the control of reproductive or sexual health includes instances when people were forced to get pregnant when they did not want to get pregnant, or when people forced them to have sexual activity without a condom when they didn't want that to happen. So, it's a fairly broad category. Again, it includes expressive aggression, course of control, and the control of reproductive or sexual health.
NANCY RODRIGUEZ: Other questions? None. I can — okay. Thank you.
AMBER RICHARDSON: Hi. My name is Amber Richardson. I'm from the Center for Native American Youth. My first question is for Dr. Rosay. Can you share any large insights about your data and what it's stating for young people under 30 who responded to the survey. So, trying to figure out what the implications are for our Native American and Alaska Native youth. And then, also can you all speak to prevention education? So, what initiatives and resources there are to kind of teach our young people not only how to understand whether they are — they've done this sort of violence, but if they are perpetrators, or at risk of becoming perpetrators.
DR. ANDRÉ ROSAY: That's a tough question to answer. I, you know, I think I would always start by acknowledging that we bear witness to the violence that's occurred in American Indian and Alaska Native communities. Not just today, but since colonization. I think that's very important. I would also emphasize what Bea talked about, that the federal government has a trust responsibility, a legal duty, a moral obligation to safeguard the lives of tribal women. I — and I hope that young people will remember that and will take that forward as we do our best to prevent and respond to violence that occurs in tribal communities.
BEA HANSON: And I think in — your question about what prevention stuff is out there, OVW has a grant — a consolidated youth grant for doing both prevention work and intervention work for children and youth. So, that's from grade school like up through high school, so we have — and we have particular models and there's been models that have been — especially around bystander work, so that have been — that have been pretty heavily researched. We're also looking for any kind of evaluation to be done, you know, in specific — culturally specific communities as well, but we've — we funded programs in many tribes across the country to do groups, for example, like groups for young boys to get together to talk about issues around healthy relationships and for young girls as well. So, there's some of those resources that are available and there's some tribes that have really done some excellent work in this area.
JOYE FROST: I would add that one of the things that really stood out to me were the high levels of violence perpetrated against men as well. And I firmly believe that unless we start intervening early and often with boys and youth, we're never really going to reach — I just think it's the key. It's something that Vice President Biden actually said in his remarks in the summit on the status of women that would, you know, intervening early and often with all victims is going to make a huge difference in combating violence against women and children. And while though I cannot ostensibly cover primary prevention, we know that victim assistance is prevention. I mean, we do it because it's the right thing to do, but we intervene and serve victims because it helps prevent things like PTSD, and clinical depression, and suicidal ideation, and so forth and helps them to begin healing. And we do have — it's very interesting, a project that we funded at the end of last year that was focused on boys and young men of color. And one of the pilot sights is with the Rosebud — on the Rosebud Reservation. And it's something we're partnering with OJJDP on, and so we really have high hopes for that particular project and hope to do more of them.
CARRIE BETTINGER-LOPEZ: I think — oh, here. Oh, that one, okay. Sorry. And I would just mention you may be familiar with the White House's Generation Indigenous Gen-I initiative. You're probably involved with that and that's fantastic. Of course, the President and the Vice President have both been very involved and invested in that initiative and, you know, which really looks at, you know, building our next generation of indigenous leaders in this country and focuses on, you know, everything from education to health and nutrition, juvenile justice, housing, and youth engagement. I would encourage you to engage with us at the White House, and let us know how you think, you know, Gen-I and some of these issues around violence, prevention, and education can be fused more because I think they haven't necessarily been connected in the past, and that's the job of advocates so often I say this as an advocate in my former and current life of connecting those dots for people in the federal government of saying, "Hey, you guys are doing this thing and you're doing that thing and we suggest putting them together. They're not separate and distinct." There's a couple of really great people at the White House. Karen Diver is a new special assistant to the President who's a former tribal leader who's very interested in Gen-I and in, you know, violence against women and girls issues, and violence more generally in Indian Country. And I would welcome engagement with you on that. I will also just mention a campaign the Vice President has been very engaged with is the It's On Us campaign. Some of you may be familiar with that. It's a campaign focused on engaging men and women, but especially young men to step up and speak out against violence against women. And it's taken place mostly on college campuses across the country, and mostly of — yeah, on, you know, so-called traditional college campuses. It's taken place kind of in the four-year college space, but I know that It's On Us campaign folks and many of us in the federal government are really interested in seeing that mission of engaging young men in college, and before college, in understanding their role as, you know, as bystanders, as peers, and in forging the next generation and giving a message, a strong message of intolerance for this violence and stepping in and speaking out. And so, one thing that we've, you know, thought about is kind of whether there's a place for the It's On Us campaign in Indian Country whether that's something that young Native American and Alaska Native leaders are interested in. And, of course, we want to kind of, you know, follow the lead of folks from the tribes and know what's most appropriate in that space, but I put that out there as something we could further discuss. Yeah.
NANCY RODRIGUEZ: Great. Thank you, Carrie. All right, well, I think we are now short of time. Please join me in thanking our guests and presenters for their time, their energy, and their commitment. I know we are scheduled to have many, many more discussions to address these issues, so thank you all.
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