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Press Release

Justice Department Awards over $433,000 to Penobscot Nation to Combat Domestic Violence

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Maine

PORTLAND, Maine: The Department of Justice’s Office of Violence Against Women (OVW) has awarded over $433,000 to the Penobscot Indian Nation to support the tribe in exercising jurisdiction over individuals who commit crimes of domestic violence or dating violence or violate certain protection orders on tribal land, Acting U.S. Attorney Donald E. Clark announced.

“The awards we are making this year will touch the lives of millions of survivors of violence and help our nation end these devastating crimes,” said Allison Randall, OVW Acting Director. “OVW is proud to be the leading federal voice in the country’s fight against sexual and domestic violence.”  

OVW’s Grants to Tribal Governments to Exercise Special Domestic Violence Criminal Jurisdiction (Tribal Jurisdiction Program) provides support and technical assistance to Indian tribes for planning and implementing changes in their criminal justice systems necessary to exercise “special domestic violence criminal jurisdiction” (SDVCJ) and funds to exercise the jurisdiction.

Prior to the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA 2013), if a victim was Indian and the perpetrator was non-Indian, the crime could be prosecuted only by the United States or, in some circumstances, by the state in which the tribe’s Indian Country is located. VAWA 2013 included a provision recognizing the authority of participating 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. The Tribal Jurisdiction Program is designed to enhance tribes’ ability to implement and exercise SDVCJ.

“I congratulate the Penobscot Nation on securing funds that will enable tribal leaders to more effectively combat domestic violence on tribal lands,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Clark. “The Department of Justice is committed to working with our tribal partners to hold perpetrators of these crimes accountable and support victims.”

OVW 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


Craig M. Wolff
Assistant U.S. Attorney
Tel: (207) 780-3257

Updated September 14, 2021

Indian Country Law and Justice