IHS compiles domestic violence research
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A new compilation of research by the Indian Health Service is the first step in combating domestic violence in Indian Country, Bush administration officials said.

More than 10 years of data and thousands of articles are reviewed in the IHS compendium. The report was released to coincide with Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

"Preventing family violence in Indian communities is a key component in improving mental health, increasing injury prevention, and raising the overall health status of individuals, their families, and their communities," said Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson. "This new report will provide important guidance in our overall efforts to prevent and reduce domestic violence."

The report doesn't provide any new data on what has become a significant problem Alaska Natives and American Indian communities. Federal statistics have already shown that Native women are more likely to be victims of violent crimes, assaults and rapes than any other group in the country.

But for the first time, references to all the available information is located in one single document. Principal investigator Laura A. Williams, an Indian health expert, has included abstracts of journal articles, studies and other research on domestic violence.

Dr. Charles Grim, the interim director of the IHS, said the compendium will "help communities bring issues to the forefront and develop ways to eliminate domestic violence."

"Many issues contribute to the tragedy of family violence, such as unemployment, lack of educational opportunities, lower health status, and alcohol and substance abuse," he said.

In the report, Williams points out some of the statistics that demonstrate the extent of the problem. For example, a 1999 Department of Justice report showed that American Indian and Alaska Native women suffered 7 rapes or sexual assaults per 1,000 compared to 3 per 1,000 for African-American women; 2 per 1,000 among Whites; and 1 per 1,000 among Asians.

Another figure cited is the extremely high rate inter-racial violence. "Among violence victims of all races, about 11% of intimate victims and 5% of family victims report the offender to have been of a different race," the report states.

"However, among American Indian victims of violence, 75% of intimate victimizations and 25% of family victimizations involve an offender of a different race."

What also emerged from the review, according to Williams, was the "paucity" of information for the Native community as a whole. For example, there were no documents on young Indian women and whether they experience date rape, violence against elders and pregnant women.

Get the Report:

Relevant Links:
Indian Health Service -

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