A national study funded by the National Institute of Justice will assess the rate of violence against American Indian and Alaska Native women.
“Existing research indicates that violence against American Indian and Alaska Native women is a critical public health and public safety issue,” said Jane Palmer, a technical advisor to the study and professorial lecturer at the School of Public Affairs at American University.
The Violence Against Women Act of 2005 mandates that the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), in consultation with the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women, conduct a national baseline study on violence against American Indian and Alaska Native women living in Indian country.
The 42-month study, which is the first comprehensive national effort of its kind, will examine domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking against American Indian and Alaska Native women; identify factors that place these women at risk for victimization; evaluate the effectiveness of federal, state, tribal and local responses to violence; and propose recommendations for improving effectiveness of those responses.
Under the direction of the NIJ, American Indian Development Associates (AIDA) based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, will partner with Palmer, Michelle Chino, an associate professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and RTI International to implement the study.
Palmer worked on a national baseline pilot study for three years as a doctoral student and will assist in instrument refinement, field interviewer training, data analysis, and report writing and dissemination.
National and regional studies have found that violence against women is more widespread and severe among self-identified American Indian and Alaska Native women than among other North Americans. There are 566 federally recognized tribes in the United States, and at least 300 additional tribes have petitioned for federal and state recognition.
“Accurate, comprehensive and current information on the incidence, prevalence and nature of crime and victimization is critically needed,” said Palmer. “The national baseline study will improve our understanding of the programmatic, service and policy needs of the women in these communities, and it will educate and inform policy-makers and the public about the threat to their health and well-being.”