DOJ Announces $110 Million Grant Program to Assist Victims of Crime in Indian Country
The DOJ announced on Tuesday that they plan to set aside up to $110 million for tribes seeking to support victims of domestic violence, assault, drug trafficking, and other crimes amid an opioid crisis that has hit tribal communities especially hard. The appropriation for tribes was tucked into the omnibus spending bill approved by Congress earlier this year. DOJ is already inviting tribes to apply to seek grants from the National Crime Victim Fund, which are being given due to the high rates at which Native Americans are victims of violence. Federal figures show a fivefold increase in overdose deaths between 1999 and 2015 among Native Americans -- the largest increase for any group in that time span. Meanwhile, more than half of Native American women in a National Institute of Justice survey released two years ago said they had been victims of sexual and domestic violence. "These numbers are staggering. But they don't tell the full story," Mary Daly, DOJ’s Director of Opioid Enforcement and Prevention, said at an Indian Country law enforcement training in Albuquerque. "Tribes and other communities across the country are suffering." While the funds have long been made available to states and federal agencies, long-time advocates say Native Americans have largely been left out of the key federal funding program for years, and tribes in the past oftentimes had to request funds from states. More here.