The Cowlitz Tribe received an $800,000 federal stimulus grant Wednesday to help prevent and better respond to violence against women and domestic violence cases.
The money is part of $13.5 million awarded to tribes statewide and is part of a national program to reduce violent crime against Indian women. The Tribal Law and Order Act, which includes the violence-prevention provisions, was co-sponsored by U.S. Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray and signed into law in July. Cantwell's office announced the amounts of individual grants Wednesday afternoon.
According to information on the U.S. Department of Justice website, the grant money will allow tribes to better respond to domestic violence and rape cases by providing extra training to staff members at Indian health care centers and creating standardized sexual assault exam policies.
According to federal statistics, American Indians are twice as likely as members of all other racial groups to experience sexual assault crimes. One in three Indian women reports having been raped, according to the DOJ website.
Grant money can also be used on programs to prevent and treat alcohol and substance abuse and for programs that improve opportunities for Indian youth.
Tribe officials could not be reached late Wednesday about the local plans for the grant money.
The Cowlitz grant is part of the Indian Tribal Governments Program and is administered by the federal Office on Violence Against Women.