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We Must Reauthorize the Family Violence Prevention & Services Act

Support S. 2259!

“Imagine: a mother in rural Alaska has fallen victim to an abusive partner, alongside her two children. The mother and her children desperately need to find a safe place to stay and recover from the abuse, but the closest shelter is nearly 100 miles away and it’s already over capacity. The village they call home isn’t connected to a road system and the family can’t afford air fare to reach the next closest shelter. Instead, they’re forced to remain in a hostile environment and the cycle of domestic violence continues. This situation may seem far-fetched to some, but unfortunately in Alaska this scenario is not unique. It is a heartbreaking reality for too many,” said Senator Murkowski. “Alaska Native women have reported rates of domestic violence up to 10 times higher than in the rest of the United States and physical assault rates up to 12 times higher. As we work to tackle these unacceptable statistics, FVPSA will help ensure victims and their children have the support they need. This is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to addressing the issue of domestic violence and assault, but it’s an incredibly important one.”

“Family violence, domestic violence and dating violence are a public health crisis in this country. In Pennsylvania alone, more than 1,600 people died from domestic violence-related incidents during the last decade,” said Senator Casey. “We must all work together to end this epidemic in our communities; that is why I introduced the Family Violence Prevention and Services Improvement Act, which provides vital services for survivors, particularly those from underserved communities, such as racial and ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, seniors and youth. I look forward to working with Senator Murkowski and our colleagues to make sure survivors across America have the support they need.”
 

Recognizing the need and funding for an Alaska specific tribal resource center continues to be a positive step towards addressing the disproportionate rate of violence Alaska Native women experience who are overrepresented as DV victims by 250% yet are least likely to receive the needed help to begin addressing the problem. When violence happens within our Native villages, the Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center is providing information and support to tribes and programs to address the problem, as well as providing education to law and policy makers to ensure the laws reflect the needed change,” said Michelle Demmert, Law and Policy Consultant Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center.

“Over 40 years ago, battered women and their advocates, including Native women, came together to call for changes in the ways our tribal, federal and state governments and societies responded to domestic violence. Native women organized in the late 70’s to create shelters and safe spaces for relatives and friends victimized by domestic and sexual violence and hold governments accountable. Such grassroots organizing resulted in the passage in 1984 of the first FVPSA and opening of 2 Native Women’s shelters—the Emmonak Women’s Shelter in the Native Village of Emmonak and the White Buffalo Calf Women’s Society on the Rosebud Reservation. Both shelters continue operating today and serve as beacons of hope for Native women everywhere. Tribal funding since 1984 through FVPSA has supported such life-saving spaces for Native women but only for less than half of tribes across the country. Reauthorization of FVPSA with critical tribal enhancements, including increased funding for tribes, permanent authorization for the Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center, StrongHearts Native Domestic “We are thrilled that the statute introduced includes permanent funding for an Alaska specific tribal resource center.  This resource will provide our communities the opportunity to break the deafening silence surrounding victims and bring healing to our people with laws, policies and local responses rooted in Alaska Native voices, languages and teachings,” said Tami Turett Jerue, Executive Director of the Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center. (Pictured top right with Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Juana Majel Dixon)

“StrongHearts Native Helpline is happy to support this bill and appreciates the bipartisan effort to support critical enhancements to improve services in Indian Country,”—Lori Jump, Assistant Director of StrongHearts Native Helpline. (Pictured right)