House approves measure on native domestic violence

    Washington, DC (KINY) - Alaska Congressman Don Young succeeded in a unanimous house vote to give native villages more power to enforce domestic violence laws.

    The house amended the Violence Against Women Act.  It would create a pilot program to expand the jurisdiction of law enforcement to areas throughout Native villages.

    Alaska Native women are over-represented in the domestic violence survivor population by 250-percent. 

    Young said Native villages often lack the tools and resources to protect women from sexual abuse, rape and other crimes.

    "Alaska Natives comprise about 19-percent of the state's population and 47-percent of the reported rape survivors," Young said, "The remoteness and isolation of Native villages, most of which are not connected to the road system and only accessible by air, makes it difficult to prevent violence and care for survivors."

    Young added it can take days for authorities to fly to villages and respond to incidents.  The new program would impact five villages.

    The amendment was supported by the National Congress of American Indians, the Alaska Federation of Natives, the Tanana Chiefs Conference, and the Bristol Bay Native Corporation.

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