The Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) today announced the release of two grant solicitations to launch a new $3 million special initiative for the Bakken Region. Located in western North Dakota and eastern Montana, the Bakken region has experienced rapid growth in oil and gas production in recent years. It has also seen increases in population and crime. OVW’s Bakken Region Initiative will support the expansion of services to victims of sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking as well as aid the local criminal justice system in responding to these crimes.
“Over the past five years, we have made great strides in protecting women from violence in Indian country,” said Associate Attorney General Tony West. “We will continue to partner with tribal and local law enforcement and service providers, and together we will help strengthen public safety in the Bakken communities with resources like these grants.”
Supported by funding from OVW’s Rural Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence and Stalking Grant Assistance Program (Rural Program), the OVW Bakken Region Initiative will support projects that are designed to address the unique challenges faced by victims, responders and service providers within this rural region. The Bakken Region Initiative was developed through a collaborative process resulting from OVW’s July 2013 fact-finding trip to the region, during which OVW leadership met with local and tribal advocates and law enforcement, tribal leaders, the U.S. Attorney, FBI agents and victim service staff. In response, OVW developed two solicitations, the Violence Against Women Bakken Region Initiative: Tribal Special Assistant U.S. Attorney (Bakken Region Tribal SAUSA Initiative) and the Violence Against Women Bakken Region Initiative: Enhanced Response to Victims (Bakken Region Enhanced Response to Victims Initiative). Together, these grants will create dedicated resources to increase local and tribal capacity to prosecute crimes of violence against women and provide services to victims of sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking.
“Local and tribal victim service providers have been overwhelmed with the increase in domestic violence and sexual assault victims coming forward and needing help,” said Bea Hanson, OVW’s Principal Deputy Director. “These targeted funds will enable the community to assist more victims and support the growing population in the Bakken Region.”
The Bakken Region Tribal SAUSA Initiative will support the salary, travel and training costs of a Tribal SAUSA for the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in Montana and a Tribal SAUSA for the Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota. The Tribal SAUSAs, who will be cross-designated to bring cases in both tribal and federal courts, will work in collaboration with the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices in the Districts of Montana and North Dakota. These prosecutors will maintain an active violence against women crimes caseload in tribal and federal courts, while also helping to promote higher quality investigations, improved training and better inter-governmental communication.
The Bakken Region Enhanced Response to Victims Initiative will fund state domestic violence and sexual assault coalitions, as well as local and tribal victim service providers responding to the increased demand for domestic violence and sexual assault victim services. Funding and technical assistance will also help those working to prevent violence and support survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking.
The solicitations are non-competitive special initiative announcements, and applications for both solicitations are due by May 28, 2014.