WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Quaker lobby, Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) called on Congress to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (H.R. 6545). Led by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), the bill seeks to expand protections to women victims of violence.
“The Violence Against Women Act is particularly significant to Native women and girls across the nation,” said Diane Randall, Executive Secretary for the Friends Committee on National Legislation. “We welcome this initiative and urge the House to swiftly pass H.R. 6545.”
Native women experience violent crimes at disproportionately higher rates than other women in the United States. While the federal government has jurisdiction in Indian Country, it lacks the resources to effectively prosecute crimes. Non-Native offenders regularly avoid prosecution for sexual assault and domestic violence.
With over 100 cosponsors among House Democrats, the bill will improve tribal access to federal crime information and standardize protocols for responding to cases of missing and murdered Native peoples. The current bill expires on Sept. 30, 2018.
The bill also extends tribal jurisdiction to include sexual violence, sex trafficking, stalking, child violence and violence against tribal law enforcement attempting to execute these provisions.
“If passed, the bill will be a huge win for Indian country, as more than half of American Indian and Alaska Native women experience sexual violence in their lifetime,” said Lacina Tangnaqudo Onco (Shinnecock/Kiowa), FCNL’s Advocate for Native American Policy. “Safety from violent crimes should not be a privilege but for too long, many Native women have gone unprotected by the law.”
In addition to advocating for the Violence Against Women Act, FCNL has also been a strong advocate for a bill to address the crisis of missing and murdered Native women. If passed, Savanna's Act (S.1942/H.R.4485) will create a standard protocol for law enforcement and expands tribal access to criminal databases.
FCNL has also been a strong advocate for the SURVIVE Act (S.1870/H.R.4443) which authorizes a permanent five percent tribal set-aside in the Crime Victims Fund.
For more information, please visit www.fcnl.org.
Founded in 1943 by members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), FCNL lobbies Congress and the administration for U.S. policies that advance peace, justice, and good government.