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Navajo Nation Council approves legislation to improve rights of rape, domestic violence victims

The Navajo Nation Council Chambers in Window Rock, Ariz.
William Nakai
Creative Commons
The Navajo Nation Council Chambers in Window Rock, Ariz.

The Navajo Nation Council approved legislation to improve the rights of victims of sexual assault, domestic violence and other violent assaults.

The bill – known as the Navajo Nation Victim’s Rights Act of 2023 – clearly defines the meaning of a “victim” and “advocate.”

It also clarifies what “without consent” means in relation to sexual assault and rape, which advocates say has historically created barriers for victims and families.

The new language further details the rights of victims when it comes to minimizing contact with the defendant and ensuring their voice is heard during court proceedings.

Speaker Crystalyne Curley called the act a “critical step” in providing more support and resources for the Navajo people.

The legislation was unanimously approved by the council on August 25. It will now go to the president and vice president for consideration.