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Press Release

Office on Violence Against Women Announces Awards to 11 Indian Tribal Governments to Exercise Special Domestic Violence Criminal Jurisdiction

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

The U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) today announced awards to 11 Indian Tribal governments to support them in exercising special domestic violence criminal jurisdiction (SDVCJ). The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA 2013) recognized the authority of tribes to exercise SDVCJ over certain defendants, regardless of their Indian or non-Indian status, who commit crimes of domestic violence or dating violence or violate certain protection orders in Indian country.  

“We heard from tribal leaders that they need access to funds to support the day-to-day costs of SDVCJ, and I’m pleased to announce OVW is issuing eleven awards to implementing tribes to defray these costs,” said OVW Principal Deputy Director Allison Randall. “OVW is dedicated to working with tribes to address challenges in protecting victims and responding to offenders in their communities, as well as supporting tribal sovereignty."

The recipients of today’s one-year awards under OVW’s Tribal Jurisdiction Program are: Chickasaw Nation, Oklahoma; Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, North Carolina; Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes, Montana; Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Oklahoma; Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi, Michigan; Pascua Yaqui Tribe, Arizona; Port Gamble S’klallam Tribe, Washington; Pueblo of Santa Clara, New Mexico; Seminole Nation of Oklahoma; the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma; and the Tulalip Tribes of Washington.

OVW’s Tribal Jurisdiction Program was authorized under VAWA 2013 and supports tribes with jurisdiction over Indian country in exercising SDVCJ. Tribal Jurisdiction Program funds may be used to strengthen tribal criminal justice systems, provide indigent criminal defense, conduct jury trials and provide services and applicable rights to crime victims. Costs could include, but are not necessarily limited to, incarceration costs (including medical care) for non-Indian SDVCJ defendants, trial costs for SDVCJ cases, defense counsel costs, costs associated with empaneling a jury for an SDVCJ trial, batterer’s intervention or other pre- or post-conviction supervision or programming costs and related training and technical assistance.

About the Office on Violence Against Women

The Office on Violence Against Women provides leadership in developing the nation’s capacity to reduce violence through the implementation of the Violence Against Women Act and subsequent legislation. Created in 1995, OVW administers financial and technical assistance to communities across the country that are developing programs, policies and practices aimed at ending domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. In addition to overseeing federal grant programs, OVW undertakes initiatives in response to special needs identified by communities facing acute challenges. Learn more at

Updated December 8, 2021

Civil Rights
Indian Country Law and Justice
Press Release Number: 21-1214