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Indian Affairs Committee Releases Draft Bill on Tribal VAWA Amendments

To begin consideration of the VAWA reauthorization, the Senate Comminee on Indian Affairs held a hearing, "Native Women : Protecting, Shielding, and Safeguarding Our Sisters, Mothers, and Daughters," on July 14, 2011.  As follow up to the hearing, they have issued a discussion draft of VAWA amendments that will continue to assist Native communities in protecting and empowering Native women.

The Senate Committee is seeking tribal input and comments on this draft, posted yesterday on the SCIA website: http://indian.senate.gov/issues/2011-08-15.cfm, to ensure that Native provisions are fully considered as the VAWA reauthorization moves through Congress.  This draft bill recognizes and strengthens concurrent tribal criminal jurisdiction to investigate, prosecute, convict, and sentence both Indians and non-Indians who assault Indian spouses, intimate partners, or dating partners, or who violate protection orders, in Indian country.  The bill improves the ability of tribes to respond to sex trafficking and strengthens accountability, coordination and consultation with federal agencies.

The Committee is asking tribal leaders, advocates, and representatives to submit any comments or suggestions on the draft in writing by September 6, 2011, via email to comments@indian.senate.gov.  Please contact Erik Stegman or Wendy Helgemo at 202-224-2251 with any questions. 

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