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VAWA Tribal Pilot Project FAQ The purpose of the Pilot Project is not whether to expand the exercise of SDVCJ, but rather how best to exercise SDVCJ.The Pilot Project will support tribes in their efforts to collaboratively develop “best practices” that other tribes can consider when implementing SDVCJ in 2015 and beyond. Phase One is a planning and assessment phase, which will take place in the summer and fall of 2013.Native women are battered, raped, and stalked at far greater rates than any other population of women in the United States: 34% of Native women will be raped in their lifetimes and 39% will be the victim of domestic violence.[2] Amnesty International’s Maze of Injustice Report (2007) similarly noted that American Indian and Alaska Native women continue to experience high levels of sexual violence.Violence in Indian country is compounded by a systemic failure to prosecute offenders.Criminal jurisdiction in Indian country is divided among federal, tribal, and state governments, depending on the location of the crime, the type of crime, the race of the perpetrator, and the race of the victim. 191 (1978), held that tribal courts lack criminal jurisdiction over non-Indian defendants.(See our General Guide to Criminal Jurisdiction in Indian Country.) This complexity has resulted in significant impediments to law enforcement in Indian country. Therefore, after 35 years, Congress enacted a partial-Oliphant fix in Title IX of the reauthorized VAWA of 2013 to respond to crimes committed by non-Indian offenders in Indian country.

Phase Two will start in late 2013 and run through March 7, 2015, with some tribes potentially prosecuting SDVCJ cases by late 2013 or early 2014.

(See our General Guide to Criminal Jurisdiction in Indian Country.) A "participating tribe," or a tribe that elects to utilize the special domestic violence criminal jurisdiction, may prosecute a non-Indian defendant for acts of "Domestic violence," "dating violence," and "protection orders," are defined within the Text of the Law Here.

It is important to note that the “special domestic violence criminal jurisdiction” does NOT include the crime of sexual assault.

Please note: A tribe may still participate in the Intertribal Working Group and the Pilot Project without having submitted a preliminary expression of interest.

This deadline is intended simply to begin the Intertribal Working Group as soon as possible.

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