Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco Delivers Remarks at the Justice Department’s Annual Tribal Consultation
In recognition of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein met with Acting Director of the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) Katharine Sullivan and other senior Justice officials today to discuss the Violence Against Women Act’s (VAWA) essential focus on criminal justice responses to domestic violence. Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein also announced new OVW funding for the department’s Tribal Special Assistant U.S. Attorney (SAUSA) program.
“There is no place in our society for domestic violence, and holding perpetrators accountable and providing services to victims is a critical part of the Department’s response,” said Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein. “During this National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I encourage law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, and other criminal justice professionals to speak out about domestic violence and redouble efforts to bring perpetrators to justice. I am especially pleased to announce new funding to support four new Tribal Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys, whose collaboration across the tribal and federal jurisdictional landscape is a model for effective prosecution of violence against women.”
OVW’s Tribal Special Assistant United States Attorneys (Tribal SAUSAs) Program is another Department initiative supporting innovative prosecutorial collaborations. These prosecutors bring cases in both tribal and federal courts, and help ensure that tribal and federal authorities have a seamless response in prosecuting cases under their jurisdiction. In OVW’s pilot project, Tribal SAUSAs reported a wide range of successes, including prosecution of cases that otherwise may not have been brought.
Today, OVW is announcing new Tribal SAUSA Program awards of $437,500 each to the following four tribes:
Commemorated in the United States since 1987, National Domestic Violence Awareness Month educates the public, commemorates and honors victims and survivors, and connects service providers across the country. President Trump has continued the tradition of issuing a presidential proclamation to recognize October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Strengthening criminal justice is the core component of VAWA, and Acting Director Sullivan pointed to the Improving the Criminal Justice Response to Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, and Stalking Program (ICJR) as the “backbone of VAWA.” ICJR helps communities investigate and prosecute these crimes and keep violent criminals off the street. Since 1997, OVW has made 1,655 ICJR grant awards totaling over $847,000,000. In fiscal year 2018, OVW made 54 ICJR awards totaling $32,610,116.
This funding has supported justice responses including dedicated police and prosecution units, specialized courts, and offender monitoring in 538 communities. For example, Fairfax County in Virginia uses ICJR funding to support a specialized prosecutor for domestic violence and stalking cases and to monitor the enforcement of civil protective orders.
ICJR also funds unique collaborative approaches, such as Family Justice Centers – “one stop shops” housing police, prosecution, and victim services in one place – and multidisciplinary teams that decrease domestic violence homicides. Since 2012 OVW has awarded over $24 million in ICJR funding to reduce domestic violence homicide, including pilot sites, nationwide training, and research. This includes six awards totaling $3,299,977 for fiscal year 2018.
Many victims also face substance abuse issues, and may struggle to access the justice system and get the protection they need. OVW is today announcing an award of $450,000 to the Alliance for HOPE International to train Family Justice Centers to address this complex challenge. The Alliance for HOPE International will partner with the National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma, and Mental Health.
VAWA was first authorized in 1994 and focused on strengthening the criminal justice response to domestic violence. VAWA was reauthorized in 2000, 2005, and 2013, and each reauthorization included expansions such as addressing elder abuse, combatting stalking, and serving victims of sex trafficking in Indian Country. More information about VAWA is available at www.justice.gov/ovw/legislation.