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Press Release

Justice Department Announces New Federal-Tribal Partnerships to Combat Domestic Violence in Oklahoma and Other States

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Oklahoma
Local, State, and Tribal Organizations in Oklahoma Receive $8 million for Domestic Violence Services

The Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) announced today that it will dedicate $2,250,000 to continue a successful approach among tribal and federal authorities to hold violent offenders accountable for crimes they commit in Indian Country. U.S. Attorneys Trent Shores for the Northern District of Oklahoma, U.S. Attorney Brian Kuester for the Eastern District of Oklahoma, and U.S. Attorney Timothy Downing of the Western District of Oklahoma helped make the announcement for  at a press conference in Tulsa.

The Tribal Special Assistant United States Attorney (Tribal SAUSA) Initiative, financed through a partnership between OVW and the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), trains cross-deputized tribal prosecutors in federal law and procedure and investigative strategies so they can pursue domestic or sexual violence cases in tribal court, federal court, or both. “A victim’s safety and freedom from her abuser should not hinge on the jurisdictional boundaries around the crime scene. These new awards continue the Department’s commitment to equipping tribal prosecutors with the tools they need to curb domestic violence no matter where it occurs,” said OVW Principal Deputy Director Laura Rogers.

Owing to the funds contributed by BJA, the five tribes receiving SAUSA awards have enhanced resources to prosecute not only domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking cases, but also other serious offenses including homicides, robberies, and cybercrimes. The recipient tribes are:

•           Chickasaw Nation (Western District of Oklahoma)

•           Southern Ute Tribe (District of Colorado)

•           Pueblo of Laguna (District of New Mexico)

•           Oglala Sioux Tribe (District of South Dakota)

•           Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians (Southern District of Mississippi)

“The rate of violent victimization is staggeringly high in American Indian and Alaska Native communities. We have to do more to bring this rate down and make more justice solutions available to our tribal partners. The new SAUSA awards are a big step in that direction,” remarked R. Trent Shores, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma and Co-Chair of the Native American Issues Subcommittee.

“Working closely with the Chickasaw Nation to ensure justice is served for crimes committed on Chickasaw land is a priority for my office,” said Timothy J. Downing, United States Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma.  “These new grant funds fill help fill critical resource gaps, ensuring we can take a robust approach to safeguarding victims and their families from further harm.”

“Prosecuting domestic abusers before their violence turns lethal is critical to ensuring victims can survive the harm done to them, but so too are services that support victims’ recovery. Those services are what these grant funds provide,” noted Brian J. Kuester, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Oklahoma.

 The SAUSA project with the Chickasaw Nation is part of a $12 million grants package that OVW will award this year to bolster efforts in Oklahoma to combat domestic violence, which has reportedly increased in Tulsa and Oklahoma City in recent months. This new funding will reach rural and tribal communities throughout the state that also struggle with a growing need for justice solutions and victim services.  Other specific grants are as follows:

Specific grants to Tulsa County and City of Tulsa: 

•           A $449,948 grant to the Tulsa County District Court to establish a docket for monitoring compliance among domestic violence offenders, and develop policies and training for court personnel and community partners on firearms surrender following a domestic violence conviction or issuance of a final protection order. 

•           A $750,000 award to the City of Tulsa to support domestic violence investigations, victim-witness services, and a new, specialized domestic violence prosecution unit.

The City of Tulsa, whose work OVW is proud to support again this year, recently reported that its grant funding has been critical to addressing high-risk domestic violence cases, fostering coordination among prosecutors and law enforcement on evidence collection, and connecting victims to advocates who can help them navigate the justice process and obtain services to help them rebuild their lives. Recognizing that ending domestic violence in Oklahoma requires partnerships among federal, tribal, and local justice agencies, OVW is pleased to invest in collaborative strategies that put safety in reach for victims in cities and on reservations throughout the state.

Specific grants to Oklahoma Tribes:

•           A $407,000 grant to the Absentee Shawnee Tribe to update its tribal codes, policies, and procedures in preparation for exercising special domestic violence criminal jurisdiction under the Violence Against Women Act.

•           Over $3 million under OVW’s Tribal Governments Program is slated to go to four tribes in Oklahoma—the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, the Pawnee Nation, the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma, and the Delaware Tribe of Indians—to support coordinated community responses to violence against women.

Other awards that will be issued to organizations and government agencies in Oklahoma include:

•           A $597,849 grant to the Native Alliance Against Violence, in Norman, to provide legal services for domestic violence and sexual assault victims in tribal communities. This organization will also receive $353,615 in formula funding to provide education, support, and technical assistance to tribes and tribal victim services providers.

•           A $243,619 grant to the Oklahoma Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault to coordinate victim services and collaborate with federal, state, and local entities on addressing violence against women in Oklahoma.

•           $2,019,340 in formula funds that support law enforcement, prosecutors, victim services providers, and courts in working collaboratively to respond to domestic and sexual violence.


Public Affairs

Updated August 26, 2020