Arizona Democrat Tom O’Halleran is cosponsoring a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives to provide resources for survivors of domestic violence in tribal communities. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports.
The bill is called the Securing Urgent Resources Vital to Indian Victim Empowerment, or SURVIVE Act. It would create a tribal grant program through the Justice Department mandating that 5 percent of federal money allocated for crime victims benefits tribal members.
In 2018, the Crime Victims Fund awarded nearly $3.5 billion to local victim assistance programs. But according to Rep. O’Halleran, less than 1 percent typically goes to Native American survivors.
If passed, the bipartisan bill would support legal, medical and counseling services for women and children in Indian Country. New Mexico Democrat Deb Haaland and Oklahoma Republican Tom Cole have are also cosponsors.
According to the National Congress of American Indians, Native American women experience domestic violence at rates 50 percent higher than other groups.