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New Federal-Tribal Partnership Formed To Combat Domestic Violence Against Women

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Allison Herrera / KOSU
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On Wednesday, the U.S. Justice Department announced a new partnership between federal authorities and tribal officials that aims to combat domestic violence.

The Department’s Office on Violence Against Women will dedicate more than $2 million to help tribal and federal authorities prosecute felony crimes that occur in Indian Country.

Five tribes in the U.S., including the Chickasaw Nation, will receive a special assistant U.S. attorney. They are able to prosecute felony crimes like sexual assault, kidnapping and rape in both tribal and federal courts.

Timothy J. Downing, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma, said he wanted a tribal special assistant U.S. Attorney since he started last year.

"I simply refer to these cases as homicide prevention. Because that's what they are," Downing said.

Officials say Native American women are twice as likely to be the victim of violent crimes in the U.S.

The attorney positions are part of a separate $12 million federal grants package that includes grants to Tulsa County District Court and the City of Tulsa. The Absentee Shawnee Tribe, Choctaw Nation, Pawnee Nation, Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma and Delaware Tribe on Indians will also receive funds to combat violence against women.

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Allison Herrera is a radio and print journalist who's worked for PRX's The World, Colorado Public Radio as the climate and environment editor and as a freelance reporter for High Country News’ Indigenous Affairs desk.
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