Law takes on crimes against American Indian women

By Susan Montoya Bryan
Albuquerque, New Mexico (AP) October 2010

Federal and tribal officials say a new law aimed at combating crime on American Indian reservations will help them address domestic violence, rape and other violent crimes that have ravaged Indian women at rates much higher than the national average.

About 150 judges, tribal leaders and law enforcement officials are in Albuquerque, New Mexico, for a national symposium on implementing the Tribal Law and Order Act, signed by President Obama in July.

The law requires officers serving Indian Country be trained in collecting evidence and interviewing sexual assault victims. It also requires the Indian Health Service to establish a nationwide protocol for helping victims of sexual assault.

Federal data shows one in three Indian women will be raped in their lifetimes.