OKMULGEE, Oklahoma– The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) has been reauthorized and funding is going in effect with Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s Family Violence Prevention Program.
VAWA creates and supports comprehensive, cost-effective responses to domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking according to the National Network to end Domestic Violence website.
In an interview with Mvskoke Radio, MCN Family Violence Prevention Program Director Shawn Partridge stated each reauthorization grows stronger providing funding for critical programs that are providing services throughout the nation and communities.
“The new reauthorization expands tribes’ ability to hold non-Native offenders accountable for various crimes,” Partridge said.
According to Partridge, the 2013 reauthorization restored criminal jurisdiction over non-Natives that commit crimes of domestic violence, dating violence and violation of protective orders that has been renewed with the 2022 reauthorization.
In a statement made by MCN, the new reauthorization demonstrates the value of strengthening tribal authority and capacity to enforce the law within MCN borders. When tribal nations are empowered to bring resources to the fight against crime, share the workload with other agencies and make the tribes communities safer everyone benefits. The tribe has advocated further restoration of tribal jurisdiction through VAWA.
The current VAWA contains historic provisions regarding the scope of tribal criminal jurisdiction restored. In the tribe’s statement, they applaud the hard work of the Judiciary Committee and the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs for their input.
Questions still arise from MCN about provisions to this bill that could establish standards for tribal court convictions separate from those applied to state court convictions.
“There are a lot of changes but great changes,” Partridge said. “The Nation is working hard amongst our department to strengthen our responses. There are lots of challenges but lots of great work.”
This reauthorization will renew VAWA grant-funded programs and provides increase in funding. FVPP has been able to utilize these financial resources, which is being used to increase staff and increase services.
“We’re really happy to be working with the Executive Branch and to have the support of leadership on developing our first shelter for victims and survivors,” Partridge added.
With the reauthorization of VAWA programs in the tribe are bettering their services, and with convictions sent to tribal courts, according to Partridge the MCN court is growing by adding on two judges.