Violence Against American Indian and Alaska Native Women: Building Upon Prior Research

To help ensure that NIJ's research program is informed by and builds upon prior research, NIJ commissioned a study of the relevant literature and extant research in the area of violence against American Indian and Alaska Native women.

The goals of this study were to examine and describe the:

  • Scope of the problem.
  • Consequences of the problem.
  • Factors that may constrain or enhance effective strategies to address the problem.
  • Literature that specifically speaks to the justice system response (enforcement, prosecution, intervention).

The main findings of this study include:

  • National rates of homicide victimization against American Indian and Alaska Native women are second to those of their African-American counterparts but higher than rates for Caucasian women. However, these national averages hide the extremely high rates of murder of American Indian and Alaska Native women in some counties composed primarily of tribal lands.
  • National annual incidence rates and lifetime prevalence rates for rape, other sexual assaults, and physical assaults are higher for American Indian and Alaska Native women compared to both African-American and Caucasian women.
  • The unique status of tribal nations as both sovereign and domestic dependents creates problematic jurisdictional barriers that sometimes obstruct an effective criminal justice response to American Indian and Alaska Native victims of crime and violence.
  • Other factors that impede an effective law enforcement response to crimes on many tribal lands include insufficient funding, inadequate law enforcement training, and victim mistrust of justice systems.
Date Created: February 4, 2010