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National Center for Victims of Crime Calls for New Resolve to Address High Rates of Victimization in Indian Country


June 9, 2015
Contact: Tara Ballesteros  tballesteros@ncvc.org – 202-467-8743

Washington, DC The National Center for Victims of Crime applauds the United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs for holding a hearing on the critical need for victim services in Indian Country. High rates of victimization coupled with jurisdictional challenges, lack of infrastructure, and, in some places, remote surroundings with limited access to resources, combine to create a dire situation for many tribal communities. It is critical to elevate this issue and work in collaboration with Native advocates to address specific challenges and dedicate appropriate funding and support for tribal victim services. 

While recent attention has focused on the high rates of violence against Native women, we must also recognize that American Indian and Alaska Native populations are disproportionally affected by a significant range of crimes. In communities where there is a mistrust of law enforcement, or hesitancy to involve the authorities, an important opportunity to connect victims with the support they need and deserve is often missed, decreasing our ability to provide access to essential services and reach some of the most vulnerable populations.

“Early intervention as well as providing victims of crime with appropriate, culturally-sensitive support services and resources after victimization dramatically reduces the adverse effects of victimization. Traditional cultural practices to promote recovery are also important elements in the healing process for tribal victims of crime and must be incorporated in our response,” commented Mai Fernandez, Executive Director of the National Center for Victims of Crime. “We hope the Committee’s actions will result in a new resolve to support tribal communities as they respond to victimization.”

While services on American Indian reservations and in Alaska Native villages are extremely important, crime victims who live far from their tribal communities in both urban and rural settings are also victimized at high rates and are in need of culturally-specific services. We must recognize the diversity of needs as we further explore the core issues leading to the high-rates of victimization and low rates of response. We must then confront the challenges of this complex issue with meaningful, evidence-based, culturally appropriate solutions. The National Center for Victims of Crime joins tribal communities and advocacy organizations in calling for creative solutions and new resources to bring justice and healing to American Indian and Alaska Native communities. 




The National Center for Victims of Crime, established in 1985, is the nation’s leading resource and advocacy organization for crime victims and those who serve them. For more than 25 years, the National Center has led this nation’s struggle to provide crime victims with the rights, protections, and services they need to rebuild their lives.