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April 2005Vol. 6, No. 3Delivery of Victim Services in Indian Communities

American Indian tribes are increasingly developing their own systems for delivering victim services within their communities. Successful delivery of services has many geographical, jurisdictional, and cultural challenges. The Office for Victims of Crime, of the U.S. Department of Justice, has recently released a new publication, Victim Services: Promising Practices in Indian Country, that describes promising practices for assisting victims of violence and abuse in 12 Indian Country locations throughout the United States.

The tribes represented in the survey range from the Cherokee in North Carolina to the Yup'ik Eskimos in Alaska. A wide array of services are offered, including emergency shelters for victims of domestic violence, children's advocacy centers for victims of child abuse, court-appointed special advocate programs for children in care, and a Mothers Against Drunk Driving program that provides support and counseling services for the victims and survivors of alcohol-related accidents.

These programs have been successful within the communities that they serve for many reasons. Geographical barriers have been addressed by locating facilities within tribal communities as much as possible and offering transportation services where needed. Jurisdictional issues have been addressed through partnering with State agencies and through interagency and interprogram cooperation. In addition, the cultural relevance of services is ensured by having them delivered in the victim's own language by tribal members and integrating elements of the tribe's traditional healing methods into the treatments provided.

This monograph was prepared by the Tribal Law and Policy Institute. Each description includes the program's keys to success, relevant demographic data, and a contact for further information. This publication is available online at (PDF 741 KB).