We strongly believe that actions influence policies. The Coalition is committed to assisting our tribal, local, state and federal leaders and partners to develop and promote legislation and policies that work to improve response, services and support to Native women and children who are impacted by violence. Good laws and policies create better outcomes. One fundamental role played by CSVANW is to advance policies to eliminate violence against Native women and children and advocate for social change. We change public policy and redirect conversations by:
- Identifying and strengthening the violence against Native women and children movement
- Supporting adequate funding for victim service advocacy programs, tribal law enforcement and community response
- Building stronger systems that create improved responses to violence through effective laws and policies
CSVANW provides annual briefings to tribal leaders and decision makers on the status of violence against Native women and children through sharing data and centering the experiences, strengths and needs of survivors of violence. We work to ensure our communities have the data and recommendations for public safety, services and support so that they can make the best-informed decisions for their communities. CSVANW diligently works to create, shape, influence, and enhance policy that impacts survivors, their families, and our communities.
Over the last two to three decades, CSVANW founders and New Mexico advocates have been working to increase protections and services to Native survivors of violence. The following is a list of major laws that have been passed that contribute to improved coordination, response and support for Native women and children who have been most affected by violence.
Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010
The Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010 is a law, signed into effect by President Barack Obama, that expands the civil punative abilities of tribal courts across the nation. The law allows tribal courts operating in Indian country to increase jail sentences handed down in criminal cases over Indian offenders. This was a major step toward improving enforcement and justice in Indian country—and a precursor to VAWA 2013.
The purposes of the Tribal Law and Order Act clarify the responsibilities of the federal, state, tribal, and local governments with respect to crimes in Indian Country and work to increase coordination and communication among federal, state, tribal and local law enforcement agencies.
Violence Against Women Act- Tribal Provisions of 2013
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was reauthorized for the third time on March 7, 2013. (Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013, S. 47, 113th Congress, 2013-2015.) VAWA of 2013 includes Title IX—Safety for Indian Women.
Among its provisions, Title IX of VAWA of 2013 authorized “special domestic violence criminal jurisdiction.” This jurisdiction authorizes tribes to criminally prosecute non-Indians for the crimes of domestic violence, dating violence, and the violation of protection orders. However, in order for tribes to utilize this criminal jurisdiction, tribes must provide certain enumerated due process protections, including most of the protections required in the Tribal Law and Order Act.
Tribal Consultation Policy re: Violence Against Women
On November 5, 2009, President Barack Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum directing each agency to submit a detailed plan of action describing how the agency will implement the policies and directives of Executive Order 13175.
The Department of Justice’s annual Tribal Consultation on Violence Against American Indian and Alaska Native Women is held pursuant to Public Law 109-162, Title IX, Section 903 of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2005. This law requires the U.S. Attorney General to conduct an annual consultation with Indian tribal governments to address the federal administration of all tribal funds and programs established under the Violence Against Women Acts (VAWA) of 1994, 2000, and 2005. The statute further directs the Attorney General to solicit recommendations from the Indian tribes at an annual consultation concerning the following items:
- Administering tribal funds and programs
- Enhancing the safety of Indian women from domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking
- Strengthening the federal response to such violent crimes
Victim of Crime Act
The Victims of Crime Act of 1984 (VOCA) is a U.S federal government legislation aimed at helping, supporting and providing assistance to victims of crime. It established the Crime Victim’s Fund, a structure to compensate victims of crime and connect them to services and support.
The Crime Victims Fund was established by the Victims of Crime Act and serves as a major funding source for victim services throughout the country. Each year, millions of dollars are deposited into this Fund from criminal fines, forfeited bail bonds, penalty fees, and special assessments collected by U.S. Attorney’s Offices, U.S. Courts, and the Bureau of Prisons. These dollars come from offenders convicted of Federal crimes not from taxpayers. For more information about VOCA, here is a great website with legal resources provided by Cornell University: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/42/chapter-112
The VOCA administrator for the state of New Mexico is the Crime Victims Reparation Commission. You can access their website here for more information: http://www.cvrc.state.nm.us/