Using Federal Law to Increase Safety for Indian Women: TLOA and VAWA Implementation Efforts

Published by: Leslie A. Hagen

Native American women suffer domestic and sexual violence at epidemic rates. Federal law enforcement may be hours away from reservation crime scenes and resources are frequently stretched thin. Tribal police, prosecutors, and courts have had significant success in combating intimate partner violence committed by Indians in Indian country. But, because of a 1978 U.S. Supreme Court decision, tribes lacked the authority to prosecute a non-Indian defendant even if he lived on the reservation and was married to a tribal member. And, federal law limited tribes to imposing a maximum sentence of one year imprisonment regardless of how serious the offense. The Tribal Law and Order Act (2010) and the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 potentially and dramatically changed the legal authority of tribal courts and have provided federal prosecutors with new criminal offenses to use when holding offenders accountable. This webinar will cover the relevant changes to federal law, a summary of recent case law, and provide an update on implementation efforts for both Acts.

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