Indian Country
Jerry Gardner  -  2005/6/8
I would like to know about enforcement of restraining orders. Who enforces them? Can arrests be made for violations on tribal lands?
1.  Jerry Gardner
 In the context of violence against women, full faith and credit (FFC) means that a valid order of protection is enforceable where it is issued and in all other jurisdictions. Example: Sally petitions for and receives and order for protection against her husband, Nate, in Muscogee (Creek) Nation Tribal Court. Sally drives up to Wichita, Kansas to visit her mother. Nate follows her to Wichita in another car, and then violates the Tribal protection order by trying to contact Sally.Question: Do the Wichita, Kansas police officers have to enforce the Muscogee (Creek) Tribal Protection Order?Quick answer: YES. According to federal law, the Wichita Police MUST enforce the order.Under the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), jurisdictions must give full faith and credit to valid orders of protection issued by other jurisdictions (18 U.S.C. 2265). Full faith and credit is a legal term that means jurisdictions must honor and enforce orders issued by courts in other jurisdictions. If a protection order is violated on tribal lands, then tribal law enforcement and the tribal courts have the responsibility to enforce the order, even if it is from another jurisdiction.A brochure with an excellent overview of FFC and protection orders is available online at http:www.pcadv.orgpublicationsSurvivor20Brochure.pdfFor more information about FFC and domestic violence, contact the National Center on Full Faith and Credit at(800) 256-5883 ext. 2
What are the most significant ways that non-Indian service providers can build trust with Indians to be able to identify their specific needs?
1.  Jerry Gardner
 First it must be understood that trust takes time to establish given the long history of systematic racism. Non-Indian service providers must have patience. It might also be helpful for non-Indian service providers to educate themselves about the history, cultural values, current economic status and social climate of the tribal nations in their area. Non-Indian service providers must examine their attitudes about Indian people. Indian clients will not benefit from a paternalistic relationship rather non-Indian service providers can be helpful by providing resources based on those identified by the Indian community, creating greater accessibility to those resources, providing accurate information to Indian clients about the availability of such resourcesservices and supporting the choices that Indian clients make without value judgments.
Why are federal agents involved in investigating crimes on some reservations and not on others?
1.  Jerry Gardner
 On most reservations, federal agents are involved since tribal sovereignty provides that Indian tribes have a primary government to government relationship with the federal government and the legal authority or jurisdiction of state governments on reservations is very limited. On some reservations, however, Congress has passed legislation that provides for greater state authority or jurisdiction. While there are other federal laws impacting specific tribesreservations, the federal law that impacts the largest number of tribesreservations by providing state jurisdiction is known as Public Law 280. For more specific information concerning Public Law 280, please see the Public Law 280 WebPage (www.tribal-institute.orglistspl280.htm)on the Tribal Court Clearinghouse ( ). Two articles that are particularly helpful are www.tribal-institute.orglistspl280.htm and www.tribal-institute.orglistspl280.htm
What does the term "closed" reservation mean or refer to in Indian country?
1.  Jerry Gardner
 Closed reservation is likely to refer to an area of a specific reservation in which access (by non-Indians andor non-members) may be restricted or limited in some way. The area affected would generally be an area that is entirely tribally owned trust land. There are only a limited number of reservations that have areas that woudl formally be condered closed. Moreover, the term is mostly used in discussions concerning jurisdiction (especially civil andor regulatory jurisdiction), since the closed area of the Yakama Reservation in Washington State was involved in one of the more important U.S. Supreme Court decisions concerning tribal jurisdiction - Brendale v. Confederated Tribes of the Yakima Nation, 492 U.S. 408 (1989).
The Village Family Service currently has a grant and reapplied for the grant from the Faith Based for Victims of Crime for the Nurturing Program. My question is should we obtain Court Ordered referrals from the Tribal Court for the Participants to attend the Nurturing Program?
1.  Anonymous
 To elaborate on the Nurturing Program. The Nurturing Program consists of a series of classes for parents and children (0-18)to attend together, in a group with 6-10 families. The program works for all kinds of families: two-parent, single parent, stepfamilies, etc. and from very functional to quite dysfunctional families. The curriculum teaches how to: handle feelings, communicate needs, be empathic, take charge of one's own behavior, have warm interactions and fun with others, establish nurturing routines for regular family affairs such as bed and mealtimes, handel stress and anger, gain a sense of personal power and positive self-esteem, give and receive healthy touch, and replace hitting and yelling with more effective discipline techniques (such as redirection, baby-proofing, time-out, choices and consequences, problem-solving, verbal management, praise, I-statements and family rules. When nurturing truly becomes a way of life, human suffering will be much reduced, and many of the social problems with which we now struggle daily will be prevented.
2.  Jerry Gardner
 Tribal court, as with all courts, should have the discretion and the authority to order services based on the information before the court. Without knowing the full extent of your services and the limited information provided, it is difficult for me to comment on whether a particular service should be ordered. It is important to inform the court about services available.
Jurisdiction issues vary a lot from tribe-to-tribe. For example, not all tribes maintain separate police and/or jails. Can you tell us which tribes or areas you have the most familiarity with?
1.  Jerry Gardner
 Jurisdiction does vary a lot from tribe to tribe. The work we do at the Tribal Law and Policy Institue (see covers tribes across the country. Our staff and consultants have experience and expertise with tribes throughout the country. I personally also have worked with tribes throughout the country over the last 25+ years.
What is the best way to serve women who are victims of violence on the reservation and want to attend college off reservation. Realizing full faith and credit re protection orders, how do we help women who work or go to school off the reservation but live on it. How do we retain these students?
1.  Jerry Gardner
 Indian womenvictims who travel, work or relocate should expect that their protection orders will be enforced in all jurisdictions. It would be important to provide training to local law enforcement about Full Faith & Credit. In order to be successful, Indian women, like all women and their children must be protected from further harm in order to focus on educational needs.
Can you please explain what a PL-280 state is?
1.  Jerry Gardner
 Public Law 83- 280 (commonly referred to as Public Law 280 or PL 280) was a transfer of legal authority (jurisdiction) from the federal government to state governments which significantly changed the division of legal authority among tribal, federal, and state governments. Congress gave six states (five states initially - California, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oregon, and Wisconsin; and then Alaska upon statehood) extensive criminal and civil jurisdiction over tribal lands within the affected states (the so-called mandatory states). Public Law 280 also permitted the other states to acquire jurisdiction at their option. Public Law 280 has generally brought about: an increased role for state criminal justice systems in Indian country (a term which is specifically defined in federal statutes, a virtual elimination of the special federal criminal justice role (and a consequent diminishment of the special relationship between Indian Nations and the federal government), numerous obstacles to individual Nations in their development of tribal criminal justice systems, and an increased and confusing state role in civil related matters. Consequently, Public Law 280 presents a series of important issues and concerns for Indian country crime victims and for those involved in assisting these crime victims. See www.tribal-institute.orglistspl280.htm for more information.
How does whether a state is PL-280 or not impact crime victims in Indian country?
1.  Jerry Gardner
 There are many ways in which Public Law 280 may affect crime victims in Indian country, including the following: Federal Role Eliminated: In states without Public Law 280, the federal criminal justice system has a special role in Indian Country - crimes are often investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Indian Affairs; In states with Public Law 280, this special federal role is eliminated. Greatly Expanded Role of State Criminal Justice System: In states without Public Law 280, the role of the state criminal justice system in Indian country is generally limited to non-Indian v. non-Indian crimes only. In states with Public Law 280, the role of the state criminal justice system in Indian country is essentially the same as outside Indian country. Consequently, Public Law 280 significantly expanded the realm of non-Indian control over reservation activities. Limited Tribal Criminal Justice Systems in Public Law 280 States: As a result of the limited federal support for tribal law enforcement and tribal court systems in Public Law 280 states, many Indian Nations in Public Law 280 states still do not have functioning criminal justice systems. There may not be any tribal law enforcement or tribal court system. If a tribal court does exist, it may only exercise jurisdiction over civil actions. If a tribal criminal justice system does exist, it may be informal andor have only very limited resources available. Possible Choice of Criminal Justice System: Due to the concurrent jurisdiction of the tribal and state criminal justice systems under Public Law 280, it is possible that a victim of crime may face a choice of criminal justice systems (assuming that there is a functioning tribal criminal justice system) or the possibility of two prosecutions by the separate sovereigns (state and tribal). Mistrust and Hostility between Tribal and State Officials Communities: On many reservations, Public Law 280 has contributed to a continuing history of mistrust and hostility between tribal and state officialscommunities. The controversy surrounding Public Law 280 has contributed to this situation, including the state dissatisfaction with the lack of federal funding and the tribal opposition to the broad unilateral imposition of state law. Furthermore, a common Indian perception in many Public Law 280 states is that state law enforcement claims that they have no authority whenever the Indian Nation asks them to intervene (legal vacuum lawlessness), but that state law enforcement claims that they have this authority whenever the Indian Nation does not want them to intervene (abuse of authority lawlessness). Obviously, this situation can present many problems for Indian country crime victims.
Indian Country
Jo Hally  -  2005/11/16
How do we encourage native women to use services that are not available on the reservation but are modeled and built for mentorship among native people?
1.  Jessica McSparr
 Our mentorship program connects native women who seek services from our shelters with other native women in their home communities to provide support, advocacy, and leadership. But the initial contact with advocates is usually Anglo, and not always sensative.
2.  Jo Hally
 I am not quite certain what you mean by mentorship, but the most basic response that occurs to me is that outreach needs to be conducted, specifically targeting Native people. The outreach efforts should reflect Native American core values and belief systems and they must establish a level of cultural sensitivity, at the very least, before Native people are likely to attempt to access the services offered. Remember that it is very hard to determine to seek assistance from a foreign institution--that is, one that is not a tribally-based program. Make the program as easy to navigate and as culturally responsive as you possibly can, and then, you will know if you have done your job well if Native people begin to respond in greater numbers. Word travels, both in a negative way and a positive way.
If a native victim is seeking help pertaining to a domestic violence situation, is it best practice to find a native advocate for this victim? Or, put another way: If a native female victim seeks help should the female non-native advocate try to locate a female native advocate to provide victim advocate services to the female native victim of domestic violence? I have read that native victims do not like to work with Anglo victim advocates. Can you provide constructive advice so that Anglos can work effectively with native Americans? Thanks!
1.  Jo Hally
 Some would counsel you that it is indeed best practice to find a Native advocate for a victim of intimate partner violence. However, in my own opinion, who should guide you is the victim herself. Simply ask who the victim would feel most comfortable talking with and offer to find someone for her who is Native if that is her preference. If this method doesn't work for you or the option of finding a Native advocate isn't available to you, then I recommend that you attend as many Native conferences and tribal summits as you possibly can simply as a spectator. Listen with your ears, your eyes and your heart to all that you hear in the room. Native American Circle, Ltd. has many times discovered that because of our training events, non-Native victim advocates have successfully found ways to connect with Native victims. Intimate partner violence is a universal crime. The only difference is that the victim will react to the crime from their own cultural base. Learn, agree to grow and to see the world through a Native victim's eyes, and you will learn how to advocate for a Native victim of crime without anxiety.
How can we encourage and provide better support to Native American families who are dealing with sexual violence? How do agencies such as ours build a bridge of support with Native American communities who often do not respond to our overtures of assistance? OUr agency provides education, advocacy and response to families whose child has gone missing or has been sexually exploited.
1.  Linda Hurst
 My experience as a Native American advocate for a sexual assault crisis center that is not located on the nearby reservation involves a lot of outreach work. For example, I facilitate a Women's Talk Circle on a weekly basis and try to incorporate a social, spiritual, and educational component to it. This particular circle has been effective for approximately three years with approximately 300 participants per year. This circle meets in a urban area and welcomes women from near-by Indian communities. There are many issues of abuse that are discussed. One common thread that is evident is that the women are looking for support from each other. I can suggest to be as creative as you can in developing programs that will be accepted by this population and remain persistent. I look at all my endeavors in this field as experimental and if I can help one survivor it was well worth the effort
2.  Becky Smokey
 It sounds like there needs to be some trainings specifically addressing basic fundamentals of advocacy and outreach for native women.
3.  Jo Hally
 This is a question we are often asked and there is no simple answer. Without being familiar with your agency or the types of services you provide or how you provide them, it may simply be an issue of the Native community choosing to seek their own system of support from within their own community, particularly with regard to sexual assault crimes. Historical issues for Native sexual assault victims, combined with contemporary jurisdictional legal issues, often pose a real barrier for Native vitims in seeking assistance outside their own tribal community. Many do not desire to attempt to navigate a foreign system, or they might feel fearful of approaching a non-Native program, feeling that they may be treated to value judgments or that they may be re-victimized in one way or another. Without any intention of offending you, and recognizing that I know nothing of your own agency or how it provides victim services, I can only suggest also that the methods you may be using for outreach are being met with resistance because perhaps they are not the sort of outreach methods that will connect with Native people. It sounds like you do some good work, but you may want to change your approach a bit when reaching out to Native victims of sexual violence if you're not being received by that population well. Too, and again without any intention of giving offense, we at Native American Circle often hear the complaint from Native victims of crime that they (meaning non-Native service providers), want us to learn THEIR way, but they don't want to learn OUR way. So without knowing the manner in which you provide services, perhaps I could suggest that you find ways to demonstrate to the Native community locally that you are EAGER to learn about their traditions, customs, history and culture, and after you have demonstrated that you are willing in an effective way, you may find that Native victims are more willing to share with you what their needs are. Trust takes time to build.
Hello, What do you think is the biggest barrier to reaching the Native American community with information on domestic violence? Thanks, Lila
1.  Jo Hally
 I think there are several barriers. First, there is often an unwillingness on the part of community to break silence about intimate partner violence. Secondly, there is often a great deal of shame attached to breaking silence. Native people commonly teach their children that it is wrong to bring shame to their families, which only adds to the barriers of breaking silence. Thirdly, the jurisdictional and public policy issues in Indian country discourage victims of intimate partner violence from breaking silence. Too, the fear that one may have to seek assistance from a service provider outside the tribal community is a factor that will discourage victims from reporting. Relationship factors also play a role. For instance, the abuser may be someone who is related to someone in power within the community, such as a law enforcement officer, judge or tribal council official. Victim-blaming in the community at large is often a problem, with relatives and friends of the victims making comments such as I think she must like being hit or why wouldn't she leave? or She wanted him to hit her. That's why she did those things. She's like that. Changing perceptions about violence has never been an easy chore in any community, though. Education is certainly a key element in changing perceptions within the community, but so too is the need to speak up and speak out on behalf of the victim when victim-blaming comments are made in the advocate's presence. It may offend a few people, but in the long run, it will also quite often open the door for people to begin to talk about the violence more openly, and when that happens, the community itself can begin to take steps to hold offenders accountable, as Native communities traditionally did in historical times.
2.  Ellen
 Denial. If a community does not acknowledge the Domestic Violence and be open to the help, getting the victim to recognize they do not deserve violence is hard. Community awareness via meetings, articles in local newsletters and dinners to bring awareness to all ages would be good.
As a Native American Advocate and Program Coordinator, I am seeking out native specific curriculum and posters to include in prevention education sessions dealing with sexual assault. The requested information can be for pre-school through high school levels, and for the general public also.
1.  Jo Hally
 Linda, the work you're doing is necessary and important. I invite you to e-mail me privately, if you like, and perhaps I can connect you with a person that we are currently working with who is designing posters for sexual assault awareness and prevention in the Native community. My e-mail address is
2.  Carmen
 I just wanted to share that I have been recently presenting info to students on two reservations k-6 on sexual assault and have found that much information does not need to be Native specific. IE we talk about who is victimized and who victimizes; people of all ages, sex, poverty, race, etc... and that it is usually someone you know. What touches are okay and not okay. And using familiar terminology ie bothered instead ofin addition to molested or abused. I also put out a question box for the older children for annonymous questions; it works great.
I have been working as a Victim Specialist in Indian Country for 5 months and have quickly become aware of the limited resources. Something that complicates service referrals further is the lack of confidentiality that the Indian families feel is taking place within there Indian services. This has been mentioned to me by many families and professionals on more than one reservation. Is there anything we can do as Victim Specialist to facilitate better confidentiality within the limited resources we have? I am concerned about the services of concern becoming defensive.
1.  Jo Hally
 Confidentiality is an issue that carries profound complications with it in Indian communities, where everyone knows everyone else, and most people may be related by blood or marriage. Sometimes, even the advocate who adheres to confidentiality protocols will find that rumors of what has happened in one family or another that the advocate is working with will still get out, and the family may then feel that the advocate is to blame for this information leak. There ARE limited resources in Indian communities and it is almost impossible for information leaks to be completely contained, but there are some things you can do, even with limited resources, to prevent those leaks. First, of course, make sure your files do not carry names, but are cross-indexed with numbers, and that the file cabinets lock. Make certain that the staff who has access to the information in the files is trustworthy and remember the old axiom of You may trust that person, but the real question is: who does that person trust? Setting this as a motto will instill an even deeper sense of urgency to protect confidential information and come up with creative methods for protecting that information. One of the first rules for anyone working in Indian country, particularly someone who is not well-known in the community they serve, but is attempting to build trust, is to first and foremost, always keep your promises, no matter how minute and meaningless those promises may seem. In other words, be punctual, prompt, and if you promise a child that the next time you see her, you will have a candy bar for her, be sure that you have that candy bar on your person. Also, it is often thought that Native communities are in denial about the violence happening in their community, when in fact, this is usually not the case. The community is usually very aware of the violence, who is perpetrating it and who is being victimized by it. Denial is not the issue. Breaking silence is.
2.  Jean Lawrence
 Please feel free to contact other VSs in IC for assistance as your concerns are something we faced and might have some insight. What has worked for me is the our state's victim comp. program. The program assists with counseling and I pass that information along to the families but also let them know that it is a claim with the state and they make the determination of eligibility for services. However, our tribal mental health services division is improving significantly and I also let the families know that.
I am attempting to initiate a support group on the Quinault Reservation. I go out there every week and have begun making connections in the community, however, In the two months I have been going out there, I have received one phone call and no one has attended my group. I wonder if the community might be better served if I leave information about our services and let them come to me, or should I continue to go to the reservation every week? (This is a 1 1/4 hour trip one way.)
1.  Jo Hally
 Word travels. The moccasin telegraph is very good at letting people know that a quilting class is actually a victim support group meeting in disguise.
2.  Angela Nilsson
 Thank you for your ideas. I really appreciate your help and encouragement. My question is: If I advertise my group as an art based group- How do I get the word out that we will actually be talking about sexual assault- I would hate to blind-side someone who intended to make a quilt, and did not expect to also discuss sexual victimization.
3.  Jo Hally
 Angela, I can tell you what I would do, but in the end, ultimately, the final decision has to come from YOU because you are the one who has been working with this one unique tribal community. Only you can know intimately what obstacles you face. Please don't think I'm being evasive, though. What I would myself do is continue to GO! Trust takes a long time to develop. It doesn't happen overnight. To demonstrate that you are supremely invested and committed to making certain that the support group is off the ground, perserverance is the best thing to do. However, one suggestion: if you are advertising the meetings as a support group meeting, you might want to change your approach. Native communities are typically small. Fears are huge: (1) what if someone at the support group knows me or my family? (2) what if my abuser finds out about the support group?, etc., etc. I have seen a Native woman dragged out of a support group meeting by her hair by her abuser who found out that she really wasn't at the local Walmart, shopping, but was instead attending a women's support group. As you can imagine, this completely demoralized the entire group and for weeks thereafter, everyone feared to attend. Be absolutely certain that you keep victim safety foremost in your mind and do all that you can to enhance victim safety with your support group meetings, even if that means changing the title to Quilting Party! or Moccasin-Making Classes. (And if you advertise the support group in one of these ways, be sure you have the quilting materials or moccasin-making materials in hand during the meetings, just in case an abuser does walk in to check up on his partner's activities.) Also, you may find it necessary to simply advocate one-on-one with victims for a time simply because victims from the same community may have fears about attending a meeting with other victims. Have patience, take your time, and expect to see the results begin to blossom as you show yourself to be entirely dedicated. Keep up the good work! Don't ever give up!
The agency I work for is considering holding trainings for Tribal Police Agencies. We already hold trainings each year entitled the "Traumas of Law Enforcement" and would like to expand this to tribal agencies and address specific issues for survivors of line-of-duty death and for traumatized officers in these areas. Do you have suggestions on regions/locations for these training (we will be holding 8 of these trainings)? Also, what survivor issues do you feel should be addressed in these trainings? We know that there are different issues for these survivors!
1.  Jo Hally
 Yes, you're absolutely correct that there certainly would be different issues for survivors from different regionslocations and tribes. Each tribe is unique and distinct from all others, although some may share certain values or customs in common. As for as regions or locations are concerned, please keep in mind that many tribes do not have tribal law enforcement agencies, and while some tribes DO possess tribal law enforcement capability, their staff may be small. It is typically very difficult, we have found, to engage tribal law enforcement in training events simply because of small staff sizes and large jurisdictional areas that must be patrolled, which allow no time for tribal law enforcement to attend training events. I would like to suggest that you contact Elaine Deck with the International Association of Chiefs of Police in Washington, D.C. She works with tribal law enforcement agencies all over the nation and is a wonderful resource and a good ally to have in your corner. She would certainly be able to give you suggestions on regions and locations for training events, as well as survivor issues that should be addressed. She is often open to collaborative efforts too, so perhaps the two of you could discuss the possibility of providing training in different areas of the country together. Just a thought...
The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians has an excellent Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program on the reservation. How is the Bureau of Indian Affairs promoting this model of care in Indian Health Service sites?
1.  Elise Turner
 I agree with you; I'm not sure the Bureau of Indian Health is knowledgeable about the SANE model of medical response to victims of crime, or actively promoting it. I would love for OVC to host a workshop for Indian Health Service folks to introduce them to the SANE model, and show how to incorporate forensic nurses in tribal healthcare and criminal justice activities.
2.  Jo Hally
 Indeed, I am much impressed with the service providers and their programs at the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. However, I am not sure that I am the best person to ask this particular question. I rather doubt that the Bureau of Indian Affairs would be promoting the SANE program. You might instead want to contact Indian Health Service, Department of Health and Human Resources, and inquire there as to what is being done to promote SANE programs in tribal communities nationally. You might also contact Tina Scott, the Director for Family Violence and Victim Services Programs at Choctaw Nation in Mississippi. Her e-mail address is Please tell her that I referred you to her. She will have answers, I anticipate, that I do not.
Hello - I am working to reopen the crime victim services office on the WRIR and am wondering what grants/new initiatives are presently available.
1.  Jo Hally
 May I suggest that you go to (or Find Opportunities (FedGrants)) web site and sign up on-line to receive the almost daily e-mail posting of federal grants that are available? You will usually find that there is a wide variety of grants posted that you will receive e-mail on from and many of the grants will not be of interest to you, but this is the easiest way I know to stay abreast of the federal grants that are available or are coming available. Good luck!!
Hello, Besides Native American Circle, could you recomend some NYS Specific American Indian resources regarding sexual assault, or any organizations promoting promising practices in NYS for working with survivors of sexual assault who are American Indians. Thank you,
1.  Jo Hally
 Native American Circle is a national program and we do provide tailored-to-fit training and technical assistance services to urban areas all over the U.S. which include training components on all forms of intimate partner violence and stalking, NAC's Men's Program, sustainability issues for non-profit corporations, etc. I also suggest that you contact Cissy Elm at at the American Indian Community House in New York City. Cissy is herself based in Syracuse. American Indian Community House is primarily a shelter for the homeless, from what I understand, but it has been in existence for a long period of time and they do provide training to other organizations in New York City, I believe, especially in the area of cultural competency issues.
Is there a model criminal code that tribes are using to prosecute abusers?
1.  Jo Hally
 Actually, no. As sovereign nations, tribes do not operate under a model type of criminal code, generally speaking. Some tribes are currently using CFR courts, which do operate under a federal code, developed by the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs, strictly for use in this type of tribal court. But other than these courts, tribes which do not function under CFR guidelines (and most do not), necessarily must develop their own methods for dealing with intimate partner violence crimes. Because each tribal nation is distinct and unique, so too are the responses developed by each tribe to address intimate partner violence crimes. Many tribes have adopted tribal code or tribal ordinances to govern how these crimes are adjudicated in tribal courts. But there are also a number of tribes which continue to operate with traditional courts. Traditional courts typically are not governed by written rules or protocol, but are governed by oral tradition, passed down through generations. It should also be recognized that tribes have no authority over crimes perpetrated by non-Indians, and since current census bureau figures reflect that non-Indians now outnumber Indian people living on reservation land, it is quite possible that in many instances, domestic violence assaults against Native women are very probably accurately depicted by the most recent Bureau of Justice Statistics study on American Indians and Crime, which reflects that fully 70 of domestic violence assaults involving a Native victim are perpetrated by a non-Native offender. In the instances where a non-Native offender is involved in a domestic violence incident on Indian land, the crime would have to rise to the level of a federal offense to be prosecuted in a federal court for state courts do not have jurisdiction in Indian country, except in Public Law 280 states. But here, too, the Native victim of violence in a non-P.L. 280 state will encounter yet another barrier for domestic violence misdemeanor assaults typically do not rise to the level of a federal crime and are rarely prosecuted by federal courts in most jurisdictions. Again, these are very complex issues for which there is no simple, pat explanation or answer. I encourage you to research the many and varied issues surrounding this question and then, petition your Congressman to include language in the next Violence Against Women Act that will lift the restrictions against tribal prosecution of non-Native offenders, in particular.
Mrs. Hally Would you be willing to discuss the Issue as to when the Victim of crimes are Indigenous Americans and the perpetrator is the Local, State and Federal Government's. Either knowingly or unknowingly..?
1.  Cpl Pro
 Ok Jo.! Thanks for taking the time to address the question and your willingness to hash out some of the worst areas of victimization within the Indian Community. In a manner of speaking you read within the lines However I'm having to face the reality that the American Inidigineous persons (indio's) have been the victims of a mirad of crimes which have created a persistantly insidious PTSD mentality and re-victimating which has not been addressed or have I heard of been addressed. I beleive that the extreme extent of time involved is so desvastating that this root problem has to be resolved or a plan of action taken by any one attempting to aid any other form of victimization of the Indigenous population.*** More to follow after your comments if you do not mind. + Respectfully and thanking you in advance. Jo also...!! : )
2.  Jo Hally
 Halito! No need to call me Mrs. Hally. Jo does fine for me, or my Indian name, either way:) I'm reading your question and attempting to read between the lines on it, so please forgive me if I don't give you the response that you are really most interested in receiving. I am thinking that you are really asking about victims of crime in the context of military service. Is this accurate? I am certainly willing to discuss this issue, but if you want to discuss it with me more privately, please feel free to send me e-mail at Have no fear that anyone other than myself will see your e-mail. It will be completely confidential. If I'm misreading the intent of your question, then let me just say that Native people have been, and in many instances, continue to be victims of racially motivated crimes or simply racially motivated oppression. I think we'd have to take each incident on a case-by-case basis to decide if the crime was perpetrated with intent or without. For example, I recently attended a meeting of our local Council of Government concerning a grant proposal I had written, and there I was asked what I would do with the funds if they were awarded? Would I use them to build a tribal casino? This was such an obviously racist comment in my thinking that I was stunned, but I am quite certain that the person who asked the question did not recognize the racism that motivated his question anymore than he realized that his question, in fact, also implied that I might be willing to misappropriate federal funds. It was outrageous, but at the same time, I recognize it as something that is rather common. Native victims of crime are often re-victimized by local, state and federal authorities also, but whether or not the re-victimization is deliberate or intentional, again would have to be taken on a case-by-case basis, I think.
We will be putting on trainings in tribal areas on traumatized/disabled officer issues and line-of-duty death survivor issues. What topics in these areas do you feel we should address?
1.  Jo Hally
 Hello again, Denise! I'm not sure if this question is just a duplicate posting of the question you wrote in earlier that I previously answered or if you are writing this question now because I didn't provide a clear enough answer before. If the latter is the case, please forgive! I do not feel that I am qualified to discuss line-of-duty death survivor issues or traumatizeddisabled officer issues, but again, I think Elaine Deck would be a wonderful resource to discuss these questions with. It occurs to me that you might also e-mail a sisterfriend of mine in the Wichita, Kansas P.D. who works with victims of crime and with grieftrauma issues. Her name is Judy Brunhoeber and her e-mail is She is a law enforcement officer who stays incredibly busy, but she is tireless in her efforts to encourage hope and healing in victims. She is also Native (Chiricahua Apache) and an excellent speaker on the topics you are working on. I recommend her highly!
I represent a state wide non-profit agency that has recently formed an Indian Country Work Group (ICWG) to address sexual violence in Indian Country. Our goals are many and include holding a Govt. to Govt. Summit and most importantly conducting a state based needs assessment survey to get a clear idea of what is going on in our Tribal communities. Do you have any recommendations for resources (i.e models of survey methods, sample studies, etc...)?
1.  Jo Hally
 You have some impressive goals and I wish you the best in achieving them. I do not believe there is any such thing as a model survey method for Indian country as a whole. Actually, the term model does not really apply to Indian country because each tribe, as an independent sovereign nation and a distinct political community, possesses their own unique traditions, customs, culture, language, and their own unique issues. Each tribe will also possess its own unique methods for addressing sexual violence, some of which will usually engage the victim in a holistic healing approach, mind, body, spirit and emotions, in ways that are not invasive and do not even remotely resemble the manner in which western culture or society addresses sexual assault crimes. There are reasons, in other words, why Native victims of sexual assault often do not report sexual violence to persons outside their own tribal community. I would encourage you not to be too disappointed if you find that the tribal communities you are most interested in working with are unwilling to provide you with information on sexual assault statistics and specific sexual assault crimes that have taken place within the boundaries of their own reservation lands. Tribes typically prefer not to share information about tribal members or crimes perpetrated on tribal land with outside parties. However, sexual violence, generally-speaking, falls within the jurisdiction of federal authorities per the Major Crimes Act, although tribes MAY retain concurrent jurisdiction on these types of crimes with federal authorities, whether the tribe chooses to exercise their concurrent jurisdiction powers or not. Also, if the offender is a non-Indian (and in approximately 70 of cases reported, the offender will be non-Indian)then you may have access to information that you might not be able to obtain access to through the tribe itself. May I say, without any intent of offending, that if I were you, I would move slowly and carefully, approaching each of the tribes you wish to survey with a demonstration of the utmost respect, and then see what happens? I would also recommend that you employ a Native person to conduct the Needs Assessment evaluations that you desire to conduct. If you wish to contact me at, I can provide you with the name(s) of Native people I would recommend as consultants to perform the work of conducting needs assessment surveys and evaluations for your group on this topic. By the way, your Government-to-Government Summit is a most excellent idea, if for no other reason than it provides clear evidence of your desire to create a forum in which Native voices can be heard and respected, with the inherent sovereign nation right to self-determination that tribes should be accorded. I would very much like to hear from you about the results that come from the the Summit planned!
On our Reservation we have tribal arrests and convictions for domestic violence, but the post-conviction sanctions, supervision, and counseling is minimal. What suggestions can be provided to stop recidivism?
1.  Jo Hally
 This is a common problem that pervades all of Indian country nationally, isn't it? My only recommendation is that you continue to do what you're doing, taking as many steps as possible to educate community and encourage community to empower tribal law enforcement and criminal justice professionals to hold offenders accountable for they are the only ones who can. In truth, when we really think about it, we are compelled to recognize that Men's Programs (batterer re-education programs) cannot stop men who use violence or one or more forms of power and control tactics to batter or maintain control over their victims. Batterer re-education programs are just that: educational programs that focus on educating the abuser and helping him to choose not to use violence, and programs that are actually driven by a need to enhance victim safety. Too often, community members, and even those of us in the crisis intervention field, operate under the misperception that the Men's Program will hold the offender accountable, when in fact, a Men's Program does not possess the teeth to really hold offenders accountable. A men's program facilitator does not carry a gun, wear a badge, or don a judge's robe. It is community itself that empowers a judge to court-order an offender into a Men's Program and it is community itself that empowers law enforcement to make arrests of offenders, and prosecutors to prosecute offenders. Again, education remains key, and it would seem to me, at least, that recidivism begins to be positively impacted when community breaks silence on this topic, vows to cease the shame and blame cycle that so many of our tribal communities currently live with today, and when community accepts the fact that it is actually community itself that has the power to help end recidivism rates. After all, historically, when a man used violence against his family or intimate partner, the tribe would itself, as a community, respond to the man's violence in a way that was both culturally appropriate and traditional. And because community was responding to the violence, letting the abuser know that his behavior was socially unacceptable, violence was rare. Perhaps that is a tradition that more of us can work to recover, just as you are: by asking the appropriate questions and perservering, despite often discouraging setbacks. Keep up the good work! Encourage your tribal council or Law & Order Committee to re-examine your tribe's code, to strengthen it where necessary, always with a view toward enhancing victim safety, and to consider adopting a Men's Program that is designed specifically for Native men who use violence, such as the Native American Circle Men's Program we are currently piloting in certain areas of the country. Until we bring our men back into the circle of our families, homes and communities, restoring them in a healthy way, the terms healing and restorative justice are really just empty, meaningless rhetoric. People like you will make those terms real and give them both weight and substance.
We are a Native Coalition against domestic violence and sexual assault. We have tribal reps and we also serve urban Natives. We would appreciate any thoughts you may have on working with urban Natives. Thank you.
1.  Jo Hally
 This is a loaded question! Wow. The first thought that comes up when addressing working with urban Indian people is that often, urban Native communities are hungry to retain their connection with their People, their traditions and culture, and urban Native people often may feel that they are dwelling among a foreign people in a foreign land. Urban Native culture is quite different from the culture of a specific tribe, for obvious reasons. But we are still Native people and we often feel isolated or disconnected from our tribe when living in an urban area--all of which will discourage a Native victim of crime from seeking services from local victim service providers. As a Native Coalition who has tribal representatives and also serves urban Indian people, I encourage you to review your successes in each of the instances when you've worked with urban Natives, determine what elements were present in your most successful training events or community focus group meetings, and then build on those successes by replicating, as closely as possible, what you did in the successful events. If you have the capability, host a monthly community meeting as a social gathering. Those types of gatherings often provide an opportunity for outreach efforts. More than anything, make sure your outreach efforts are efforts that will appeal to the unique culture of urban Indians as a whole, and that at each event you sponsor, Native customs and traditions are observed that help the participants in the event feel that connection with who they are. Sometimes, in urban areas, we begin to feel like an invisible population, but as a Coalition, you will certainly have the capability in place to conduct effective outreach and to help urban Natives feel the restoration of Native dignity and pride, and to get in touch with their inner spiritual strengths, all of which is so instrumental in working successfully with urban Native communities.
How many tribes have: (1) a criminal offense for domestic assault, (2) domestic violence protection orders (or equivalent)?
1.  Jo Hally
 The VAWA mandates federally recognized tribes to enforce the protection orders issued by other tribes or states. However, the Full Faith and Credit statute (2265) of the VAWA is not self-executing. Basically, this means that tribes, as sovereign nations, must adopt their own domestic violence ordinances or tribal lawscodes to effectively implement the terms of the Full Faith and Credit statute of the VAWA. I do not know how many tribes have actually undertaken this task and developed tribal laws to address domestic violence, but there are approximately 563 federally recognized tribes and I am quite certain that all of them do not possess tribal code that specifically addresses domestic violence. Irregardless, a tribe may issue a restraining order on behalf of a victim of domestic violence or domestic assault. However, restraining orders of this nature are often denied recognition in jurisdictions outside the tribe's authority simply because the restraining order's form does not rise to the requirements of a VAWA-compliant protection order under Statute 2265. Of course, the consequence of these legal issues is that Native victims of domestic violence remain at increased risk of re-victimization, both by the intimate partner, and even the state or local authorities outside the tribe's jurisdiction. In effect, Native women, because of these issues, are denied equal protection under the law that other victims of violence are accustomed to receiving simply because of jurisdictional gap issues. This is a simple answer to an amazingly complex problem that has yet to be effectively addressed, partly because of other issues such as the race of the offender (Oliphant vs. Suquamish, 1978). It is, however, a question that is well worth your time to research and learn as much about as you possibly can. I would recommend perusing the National Tribal Justice Resource Center's web site, which has a number of tribal codes published at You may also find Tribal Law & Policy Institute's web site and the Tribal Court Clearinghouse's web site very helpful to your research.
Does a model domestic relations code exist that addresses domestic violence in custody situations? Thanks
1.  Jo Hally
 Among tribes? No. In fact, I would not use the term model to describe any type of code or law in Indian country nationally. There simply is no such thing as a model format, although several people have attempted to suggest a model format. It is not unacceptable to suggest a sample, adaptable format, but generally speaking, tribes have sovereign nation authority and rights to govern their own people on their own land by their own laws, so typically, no one law is the same as any other. Congressional Acts and U.S. Supreme Court rulings, however, do establish supreme authority over tribal laws and the federal laws concerning custody issues would prevail IF (and it's a big if) a custody issue resulting from domestic violence rose to the level of a federal case.
Hello Mrs. Hally. I've heard many good things about you and your organization. As an advocate, how might one respond to a Native woman who has been a victim of violence and also seem's to have been affected spiritually? Thank you.
1.  Jo Hally
 Halito! Please just call me Jo. I'm an ordinary person, a survivor of violence myself, and no one special. To me, you are the one who is special because it takes a lot of special qualities to work as an advocate. The question you've asked is one very close to my heart. I do not believe that any victim of violence can come through a violent situation and fail to be affected spiritually. For all of us, when we go through traumatic things, the first questions that occur to us are Why did this happen to me? or Did I do anything to deserve this? Each of these questions actually is rooted in the spiritual. The person is actually asking, Why did the Creator let this happen to me?Did I do something to deserve this? As Native people, we know that the best way to approach healing for a victim of crime is to go to the Creator with all of ourselves--body, mind, spirit and emotions. The four are not segregated or separated one from the other. I believe that we should be courageous enough to recognize that every single victim of violence has spiritual issues in the aftermath of violence. They may not themselves recognize that they have spiritual issues, but they do, and sometimes, as an advocate, we may have to even go straight to the heart of the matter with a victim ourselves and name the problem for them so that they can name it themselves. Many (if not most)crisis centers discourage advocates from discussing spiritual matters with victims because of the potential for this topic to turn volatile. After all, we don't all have common belief systems or spiritual value systems. Yet I am a firm believer that advocacy work is shallow if it does not lead the advocate and the victim to discuss the spiritual issues that are the natural consequence of surviving trauma. Only when we are willing to discuss these issues can the victim find her own unique, personal path to healing. There is only one unbreakable rule, in my opinion, on this topic: the advocate must not impose their spiritual value system or beliefs upon the victim. Tolerance for all beliefs is a mandatory requirement of engaging in these types of discussions with a victim of crime. thought is simply ask, respectfully, what the victim's spiritual beliefs are and if she is willing to discuss them with you. Let her answers to your question guide you in how far you go, but in my own experiences as an advocate, I have always found that the spiritual is foremost on the mind of every victim I ever worked with, and the discussions about what happened to her will suddenly take a back seat when discussions of the heart and spirit begin. Beware! The discussion can last for a week or month of nights, but it is healing for both the advocate and the victim to engage in, and commit to, this kind of talk. Nothing else so effectively establishes trust or provides an open door with the victim to help her embark on her own personal healing journey. You may discover (and you probably will) that she will suddenly confide all sorts of fears and concerns and anxieties about why the Creator is allowing her to endure violence, what the Creator expects of her, what should she learn from the experience if anything, etc. You will have a unique opportunity to provide her with comfort and hope, and perhaps to even pray with her or participate in a healing ceremony with her. To me, it is the spiritual that has been missing in advocacy work with crime victims since the beginning of work in this particular field. But there is no other work that is quite so needed or so fulfilling and satisfying when it is done well and you are allowed to see the victim healing, right before your eyes. It is very astute of you to have noticed the connection between the effects of violence and the spiritual needs of a victim. Continue on! You're on the right path, most assuredly.
I work for a mental health advocacyy organzation. What are some ways that mental health can collaborate with victims services to help victims? Also, how can mainstream mental health better meet the needs of Native Americans in this area?
1.  David Weikel
 Thanks. I'm fairly aware of the interpersonal dynamics of DV steaming from serverla biopsychsocial factors, inculding socialization in the family or origin. I know that internalizing their locus of control by holding them accountable for their actions, while letting them know that they do really have other options that they can take in their lives is essential. I learned alot about the interpersonal dynamics growing up in a DV family, as well as being a services provider in CPS, Mental Health and corrections. What I was really hoping for was some guidence on how to get organizations and groups to work together more effectively together so that the problems are addressed and not unitentionally perpetuated thrrough systemic fragmentation of services. What are your receomendation in the area of systems changes that would help facilitate collaboration between systems and seamless service implementation?Thanks:-)
2.  Jo Hally
 (Part 2) For example, I often hear the question debated of whether or not abusers are narcissistic. Some people say absolutely not because persons who use violence, whether male or female, are usually insecure with a self-perception of being inadequate. Abusrs are not in love with themselves, so how can they be narcissistic? In my opinion, I agree that abusers often see themselves as inadequate and are often insecure people, but it is those very insecurities that feed a narcissistic, self-centered, selfish personality. The abuser will tend to feel that his victim's entire existence must revolve around him and his needs, she must constantly provide evidence that she loves the abuser, and the abuser's fear that he will lose the one person who he perceives as the one who makes it possible for him to draw breath will often push this type of abusive personality to a level of obsession that we often hear about when the violence becomes lethal. And as we know, the violence becomes lethal most often when the victim attempts to escape her abuser. Please do not think that I am suggesting that an abusive person is mentally ill. Most are not. But most do possess similar personality characteristics, and value and belief systems. In my own opinion these common characteristics so often found in abusive persons, whether male or female, are learned behaviors, not evidence of mental illness, and if the behaviors are learned behaviors, then the natural conclusion is that they are behaviors of choice that can be un-learned. Abusers can learn to make better choices. Many who have chosen to cease using violence have learned that there are rewards in peaceful, non-violent, loving behavior, too, such as, for instance, a deeper, more meaningful relationship with their mate and children--the very people whom they were previously using violence or threats of violence to hold hostage in the relationship. What I would really like to see is mental health professionals like yourself and professionals in the crisis intervention field work together to do more than just cross-train each other in perspectives and thought processes and philosophies. It would be awesome for us to come together and dig down deeper than just the surface labels of batterer, abuser, mental illness, narcissistic personality, etc., and instead scrape away at the layers of pain, fear and depression caused by trauma in order to help victims heal and offenders find the strength within themselves to make better choices. I think we all know a little about post traumatic stress disorder and other types of terminologies and labels, no matter what field we work in, but we just have to find ways to truly SEE and HEAR the victim (and the offender), without the labels, before we're going to be able to really find positive ways to impact the violence in our society today. I would be very interested in hearing your perspective on these thoughts.
3.  Jo Hally
 Cross-training may be a very good idea. I wouldn't say that victims of violence are victims because they reside in an unhealthy environment, though. I always think of the victim of domestic violence who said, Why should I leave? He'll just find me and beat me wherever I go. This statement speaks to the very heart of the issue, demonstrating also that environment, poverty, circumstance, etc. may have little to do with why a person finds themselves trapped in a relationship characterized by violence. Using violence to establish and maintain power and control over another human being, whether it's physical violence, or emotionalverbal abuse, spiritual abuse, financial abuse, etc. is a CHOICE that the abuser makes. The majority of people tend to ask the question WHY DOESN'T SHE JUST LEAVE?, when we instead need to ask the question WHY DOES HE CHOOSE TO USE VIOLENCE? There are rewards in using abuse to establish and maintain power and control over another person, although those rewards are the hallmark of a very toxic, unhealthy relationship.
4.  David Weikel
 So, if I'm hearing you correctly, mental health and substance abuse workers tend to treat the symptoms of the problem (unhealthy coping). whereas, victims services tend to treat the actual causes (unsafe evironment). Does this sound correct? Would you advise cross training between diciplines and services? Or some other method? Or...? Thanks:-)
5.  Jo Hally
 This is a question that has occurred to most of us in the crisis intervention field and the mental health field for 30 years now, hasn't it? Thank you for bringing it up. It seems that the biggest barrier to collaboration between crisis intervention professionals and mental health (or subsance abuse) professionals is simply that crisis intervention professionals approach the issue of intimate partner violence from a socio-political perspective, while mental health and substance abuse professionals tend to approach the issue of intimate partner violence from a medical model, as though a violent person is someone who can be treated and healed, and as though violence is some type of treatable, diagnosable disease. These differing perspectives have led to sharp, even heated debates between professionals working in these two diverse, yet inter-related fields. To me, one of the best things that mental health professionals and persons working in the substance abuse counseling field can do to truly work effectively with victim services is to simply place foremost, in one's thoughts, victim safety, and the need to enhance victim safety. Please allow me to clarify briely: I know many Native women who, having survived rape, sexual abuse andor sexual assault, turn to substance abuse in an attempt to self-medicate to forget what has happened to them, or even in an attempt to commit suicide. The mental health and substance abuse field tend to work with these victims of violence on a level that strictly addresses the substance abuse issues or the suicidal ideation issues, without touching on the root causes of those issues. Substance abuse counselors may also suggest to the victim who is substance abusing that she is engaging in risky behavior that will only lead to more violent victimization. When these suggestions become self-fulfilling prophecy, the victim again begins to repeat the cycle of self-medicating in order to forget, and the circle is complete, only to be begun again and again. In one extreme case that will always stand out in my memory, a substance abuse counselor once told me that he had worked with a Native woman on her substance abuse issues, but she would not stop drinking and furthermore, she was living in a violent relationship in which her abuser forced her to drink with him. The counselor repeatedly warned her to remove herself from the relationship, but she wouldn't get out, like I warned her to, said he, and so one day, that man just killed her. I was quite upset that the counselor would even imagine, much less suggest, that this woman had control over a situation which in fact, controlled her. I did not understand how he could think that she could simply get out of the situation. To me, this was the height of re-victimization, blaming the victim for her own death because she had failed to stop abusing alcohol or remove herself from the violent relationship. In fact, I felt that he should have intervened on her behalf himself to help her get free. For you to have the courage to write into this program and ask this particular question speaks volumes to me about how much closer we are, as people working in two separate fields, to becoming educated and informed enough to begin to find ways to work with one another instead of against one another. Thank you so much!
Our office is always looking for ways to improve our relationships in Indian Country. In the past, we have organized holiday gift drives and school supply drives. We also hold a regional Indian Victim Conference every year, in which we provide scholarships for attendance. What other ideas do you have for strenghthening our relationship and building trust within these communities?
1.  Jo Hally
 It seems that you're doing some very effective work! Congratulations on your outreach efforts. One other idea I have for strengthening your relationships and building trust within the Native communities you are working with is to simply ask them what type of services they would benefit from the most in their community--what would THEY most desire you to do? Sometimes, in our need to help others, and notwithstanding our best intentions, I have found that the work we do can be perceived in a negative way that we never intended. Tribal communities today take pride in the fact that we are recovering our dignity after many years of oppression and forced acculturation and assimilation--that we are empowering ourselves and no longer need to live upon the charity of others outside our own communities. To strengthen the relationships and trust that you clearly seem to have already been quite successful in building, please consider going the next step and request a community focus group meeting in which your organization simply listens to the heartbeat of the community. Let them speak out about what they need and what they feel, unrestrained. If some of it makes you feel a little uncomfortable, take comfort in the fact that they already trust you enough to speak so openly and honestly to you, and then go confidently forward with finding ways to collaborate with the tribal community in reaching its own stated goals as an identity-affirming act of tribal self-determination. I suspect you will acquire allies in places you never imagined possible and you will achieve new and heightened levels of success with your own organization's goals.
What is the best approach to take in Native communities surrounding the topic of child sexual abuse prevention?
1.  Jo Hally
 Part 2 (from Maria Brock): It is unfortunate that many of the social workers doing child welfare in our Indian communities are overloaded, undereducated, and unsupported by existing tribal and federal structures that make addressing child sexual abuse very difficult if not impossible. Developing these systems of care takes lots of time and one effective way I have seen of doing this is through the Healing to Wellness courts using a Family Court model or by having a very strong behavioral health program or other community provider (social services) that can coordinate the systems (this is unusual though). Safety of the victim is ultimately the duty of hisher parentguardian. When this fails (child abuse) it is then up to the community to step in, usually social services andor law enforcement. Many of the communities I work in are rural and depend on the BIA to provide the above services. My dream is that the tribes I work for will be able to empower their own social services to respond to, investigate, and provide services for these wounded children and families themselves instead of having to rely on federal systems that often do not follow through with services. The first step is often education, helping the community to understand child abuse, recognize it and be able to step out of the denial. There is healing for these children and families but all too often we recede into denial because it seems too overwhelming and complicated. I would also advocate that if a social worker has not met with the child, that a huge piece of the services are missing and that whom ever is in charge of social services be informed that the victim is again being abused by the system, in terms of neglect. Also the court can be addressed by any one who has concernsinterest in the child's well being and I have found this is the most effecient way of getting the child services ( tribal court mandate). Please feel free to contact me directly if you are interested in any resources on Systems of Care or Wrap around models of service. My phone is 505-239-0615 or you may email me at maria_brock@msn.comRespectfully,Maria Brock, LISW Family Therapist, Five Sandoval Indian Pueblos, Inc.
2.  Jo Hally
 To the forum participants who may be interested, the person I requested respond to this particular question graciously provided an in-depth response. I am posting it so that others may benefit also, and Maria, thank you! jo The message is below:Dear Ms. Thorne,In reply to your question about how to provide advocacy to child victims of sexual assault wo the guardian ad litem system in place, I would respond that it takes a village (even when the child has a GAL).By this I mean that an integrated, communicative, system of service providers (sometimes called wrap around system or systems of care) is need to provide advocacy for the child victim, not only in terms of receiving supportive for legal processes but for appropriate placement in fosterkinship care (ICWA compliant), mental healththerapeutic services, and support services for the victim's non-offending parent or other family members (reunification services).What I consider to be the gold-standard is to have every level of providerprofessional involved in the case to be educated about child sexual abuse and to be in communication with one another at monthly treatment team meetings that include the following people in attendance: fosterkinship parentguardian or non-offending parent if still in parent's custody, social worker, mental health providers (child therapistfamily therapist), court representative (Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), or court clerk, probation, judge, etc.), victim advocate, reunification support person (family advocateparenting coach, etc.) and any one else who is intimately involved in providing services to the family and child and is trying to restore the balance in their lives. All these people need to communicate with one another and it is really important that the victim's supportive non-offending family is involved on this level (instead of staffings attended only by professionals) so that they can take accountability and have real buy in with the social services treatment plan and court mandates. (See Part 2...)
3.  Jo Hally
 This is a difficult question with complicated answers, made even more so by the jurisdictional issues created by public policy. When it comes to child sexual abuse prevention in Indian country, I will first say that I do not consider myself any sort of expert on that topic, but I do know some experts. Please allow me to refer you to one that we at Native American Circle are privileged to work with: Maria Brock. You can reach her by e-mail at Please tell her that I referred you to her. She'll be able to give you a thorough answer to your questions. You might also consider contacting Andrea Grosvald, Forensic Interviewer at the Child Abuse Response and Evaluation (CARE) Center in Oklahoma City, OK, at (405) 236-2100. Ms. Grosvald, of course, does not work exclusively with Indian country issues, but she is someone who works with child sexual abuse victims in Oklahoma and from what I understand, she is quite a respected expert in her field.
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