today announced $3 million dollars in grants from the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) to increase local and tribal capacity to prosecute crimes of violence against women and provide services to victims of sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking in the Bakken Region of North Dakota and Montana.
Associate Attorney General West made the announcement at the Four Corners Indian Country Conference today taking place on the Navajo Nation near Flagstaff, Arizona.
The grants are part of the Justice Department’s ongoing commitment to protecting women from violence and strengthening the capacity of communities
to respond to domestic and sexual violence.
OVW’s Bakken Region special initiative launched in April 2014 and is the first large scale project targeting resources to support the expansion of services to victims of sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking as well as aid the local criminal justice system in responding to these crimes in the Bakken region.
“Victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking living in a vast rural region like the Bakken face unique challenges in accessing critical, life-saving services,” said Associate Attorney General Tony West. “With this new, targeted funding, tribes and local communities will be better equipped to respond to the increased need for mental health services, legal assistance, housing, and training.”
The five grantees supported by OVW’s Bakken Region Initiative are: Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes, Poplar, Montana; First Nations Women’s Alliance, Devils Lake, North Dakota; Montana Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, Helena, Montana; North Dakota Council on Abused Women’s Services, Bismarck, North Dakota; and Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Reservation, New Town, North Dakota.
With Justice Department funding these grantees will be able to enhance responses to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking, and expand mental health counseling, advocacy, legal assistance, prevention education, sexual assault forensic examiner programs, Sexual Assault Response Teams, and law enforcement training.
In addition, the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in Montana and the Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota are each receiving a three-year $450,000 grant to support the salary, travel, and training costs of a tribal prosecutor, who will be cross-designated to serve as a tribal Special Assistant United States Attorney (SAUSA) in the local U.S. Attorney’s Office.
“OVW grant funds have made a marked difference in the lives of countless victims and survivors, and we are eager to provide dedicated funding that will support desperately needed services,” said Bea Hanson, OVW’s Principal Deputy Director. “These grants represent the Department’s recognition that to combat violence against women, especially in Indian country, we must be responsive to emerging issues.”