Clinton wants violence act renewed
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SEPTEMBER 26. 2000

On Monday, President Clinton urged Congress to renew the Violence Against Women Act, which is set to expire on September 30.

Passed in 1994, the legislation is designed to prevent intimate partner violence and help women escape violent situations. But time is ticking away on the reauthorization of the law, as the current session of Congress ends October 6.

According to the White House, nearly 900,000 women a year who experience domestic violence stand to benefit from the law. Based on a July report, many of these women are Native American.

A survey released by the Department of Justice and the Centers for Disease Control reported that American Indian and Alaska Natives women reported the highest rates of intimate partner violence than any other racial or ethnic group. Although the number of Native women surveyed was small -- only 88 compared to the nearly 8,000 -- some 16 percent of American Indian and Alaska Native women reported they had been raped in their lifetime and 30 percent reported they had been the victim of a physical assault.

Additionally, about 10 percent of Native women reported being the victim of stalking. In total, about 38 percent reported being victimized by an intimate partner, the highest of any ethnic group.

The Violence Against Women Act provides funding to help curb the problem. While in New Mexico on Monday, Clinton announced $1.7 million in grants to fund domestic violence programs.

The Eight Northern Indian Pueblos Council, representing eight Pueblos in Northern New Mexico, will use its funding to strengthen cooperation between social services, tribal police, tribal courts, and a locally-established domestic violence program. Taos Pueblo, one of the eight, will use new money to continue implementation of a family protection code.

One area, however, which the law no longer supports is a provision which allowed rape victims to sue their attackers in federal court. The Supreme Court struck down that part of the law in May.

Get the Intimate Partner Violence Survey:
Extent, Nature, and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence: Findings From the National Violence Against Women Survey (The National Institute of Justice, Department of Justice. July 2000)

Get the Supreme Court Decision:
US v. Morrison - Syllabus | Opinion | Dissent

Related Stories:
Sexual assault of women targeted (The Medicine Wheel 9/25)

Relevant Links:
The Eight Northern Indian Pueblos Council -
Violence Against Women Office, Department of Justice -