O’Halleran Introduces Bill to Fund Victims Fund for Indian Tribes

December 11, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Congressman Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01) and Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) introduced the bipartisan Securing Urgent Resources Vital to Indian Victim Empowerment (SURVIVE) Act, a bill that would provide legal, medical, and counseling resources to women and children in tribal communities who are victims of domestic violence. Congressman Don Young (AK) and Congresswoman Sinema (AZ-09) are original cosponsors of the legislation.

“As a former police officer and throughout my time as a public servant, I have dedicated much of my work to protecting children, advocating for victims, and pursuing justice for communities,” said Congressman O’Halleran. “It is long past time for something to be done for the victims of violent crimes in Indian Country, many of whom face significant hurdles in and out of the courtroom as they seek justice. I am proud to introduce the SURVIVE Act with my colleague Mr. Cole to ensure that victims, no matter where they live, have access to necessary services as they recover and rebuild their lives.”

“Unfortunately, many tribal communities across the country are susceptible to higher crime and domestic violence rates. Often, tribes do not receive a fair share of federal dollars to deal with these challenges," said Congressman Cole. "I’m proud to put my support behind the SURIVE Act which will require the Crime Victims Fund to help those who are in need of medical services, legal assistance, counseling and more. Grant programs like these are integral in protecting the victims in tribal communities and preventing future crimes from occurring.”

“Native American women experience rates of violence at least 50% higher than their white counterparts, and this legislation will support tribal communities in accessing vital funding to support life-saving victim services directly from the federal government,” said Allie Bones, CEO of the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence.

President Begaye of the Navajo Nation stated,“There is a significant need for victims services and victim advocates on the Navajo Nation due to our high rates of crime. Our communities need these services to heal. I thank Congressman O’Halleran and Congressman Cole for recognizing this need and advocating for Indian Country.”

Federal data indicates that American Indian and Alaska Native communities face some of the highest victimization rates in the country. Yet, it is estimated that less than 0.7% of the Crime Victim’s Fund (CVF) established by the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) reaches tribes.

The Securing Urgent Resources Vital to Indian Victim Empowerment (SURVIVE) Act creates a tribal grant program within the Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime and requires a 5% allocation from the Crime Victims Fund (CVF) be provided to Indian tribes.