The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) said on Wednesday it had awarded nearly $70 million to provide support to American Indian and Alaska Native victims of crimes across the country.
The 212 grants from the Department’s Tribal Victim Services Set-Aside (TVSSA) program would help to enhance services for crime victims as part of the Victims of Crime Act. Officials said the awards would fund a variety of services from counseling and civil legal assistance to emergency house and tribal wellness ceremonies.
Of the awards, nearly $22 million will go to 67 tribal communities in Alaska.
“The Justice Department recognizes that Alaska Native families and communities have endured persistently high levels of violence and that women and girls have borne the brunt of that violence,” U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said. “We are here today to reaffirm the Justice Department’s commitment to working across the federal government and with Alaska Native communities to meet these urgent challenges.”
Additionally, the DOJ’s Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) announced it had awarded nearly $775,000 in grants to Alaska Native communities for grants that were part of the Sexual Assault Services Formula Grant Program (SASP).
Officials said the grants are specially designed to meet the needs of remotely located tribes serve victims and overcome challenges to their care. A new approach by the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC)’s Tribal Division helps make it easier to recognize those challenges, and access the grants necessary to overcome them. Grant managers from OVC’s Tribal Division were deployed to Alaska and spent more than a month meeting with Alaska village grant applicants in order to create program designs and project budgeting.