Courtesy justice.gov
Associate Attorney General Tony West

Work Still Left to Be Done, Tony West: Repeal VAWA to Include Alaska

ICTMN Staff
6/12/14

As the Advisory Committee of the Attorney General’s Task Force on American Indian and Alaska Native Children Exposed to Violence held its final public meeting in Anchorage, Alaska on June 11, Associate Attorney General Tony West voiced support for the repeal of section 910 of the Reauthorization of the Women’s Against Violence act of 2013 – which generally excludes Alaska from the restored tribal jurisdiction provisions of the Act.

The repeal would be a meaningful change that could help protect Alaska Native victims of domestic violence according to a White House press release. The Task Force, which was created last year, is focused on examining the “pervasive problems associated with American Indian and Alaska Native children exposed to violence in their homes, schools, and communities,” the press release stated.

“[W]e have come to Alaska to focus on the problems facing young people living in Alaska Native villages. We have come to Alaska, where the realities of geography and jurisdiction make this a place like no other; where the challenges of reducing the exposure of children to violence is particularly unique, particularly complex, and particularly hard,” West said.

“The important work which we have pursued in Indian country throughout the lower 48 to reduce violence against Native women and children, to reduce sex trafficking, to improve the health and safety of Native communities – the need for that work is particularly acute here, in this beautiful and magnificent state that spans an area larger than Texas, Montana and California combined.

“It is a need that President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have, over the last five years, worked hard to address.”

West touched on the close to 1,000 grants that have been filled by the Justice Department since 2010 that total nearly $440 million to improve public safety in Native communities. He said that on a per capita basis, the seven percent that has reached Alaska and the Alaska Native villages, is on par with the funding dispersed in the lower 48 before sharing some key examples.

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