On July 27, 2023, Senators Robert Casey (D-PA) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) introduced bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA). The bill, S.2693, will reauthorize and expand the Act which provides funding for programs focused on supporting survivors and preventing family and domestic violence. Funding from the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act provides domestic violence resources to more than 1.3 million victim survivors and their children each year. Of particular importance to Indian Country and Alaska, the bill includes:
• Increased formula funding distribution to Tribes from 10% to 12.5%;
• Dedicated funding authorization for Tribal domestic violence coalitions to provide culturally appropriate technical assistance to Tribes and Tribal victim services providers;
• Dedicated funding authorization for a national Indian domestic violence hotline; and
• Dedicated funding authorization for an Alaska Tribal Resource Center and a Native Hawaiian Resource Center on Domestic Violence to reduce disparities facing Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian victims.
“American Indian and Alaska Native women and men experience some of the highest rates of intimate partner violence,” said Dawn Stover, Director of the Alliance of Tribal Coalitions to End Violence (ATCEV). “FVPSA ensures that Indian Tribal governments have the funding needed to provide safe and supportive shelter and culturally relevant direct services for those facing violence and abuse in Indian Country.” According to the National Institute for Justice, more than four in five American Indian and Alaska Native men and women (83 percent) have experienced a form of violence in their lifetime including physical violence and/or psychological aggression from an intimate. “Intimate partner violence is often an intersecting factor present in a case of a missing or murdered loved one,” said Stover. “Domestic violence prevention and response is homicide prevention.” First enacted in 1984, FVPSA has been reauthorized seven times. FVPSA was last reauthorized in 2010, expiring in 2015. FVPSA is the only federal grant program solely dedicated to domestic violence shelter and supportive services and is the primary source of funding for these services for Indian Tribes.
The ATCEV is a Native-led and organized nonprofit working to advance Tribal sovereignty and the safety of American Indian and Alaska Native women by providing support to Tribal Coalition and Tribal communities in their efforts to address equal justice for survivors of violence. The ATCEV and its member tribal domestic violence coalitions are committed to amplifying the voices of the grassroots organizations and victim service programs working diligently to address domestic violence in Indian communities. This work will continue until all Indian women are afforded safe shelter and supportive services to escape violence and abuse.