Justice Department announces more than $246 million in grants for Tribal nations

The Justice Department announced Sept. 21 that it will award more than $246 million in grants to American Indian and Alaska Native communities to improve public safety and serve crime victims. The announcement coincided with the 17th Annual Government-to-Government Violence Against Women Tribal Consultation, September 21 to 23 in Anchorage, Alaska.

The purpose of this event was to solicit recommendations from Tribal leaders on administering Tribal funds and programs and enhancing the safety of American Indian and Alaska Native women from domestic and dating violence, sexual assault, homicide, stalking, and sex trafficking, along with strengthening the federal response to these crimes. The annual consultation, convened by the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), is required by law to address the federal administration of Tribal grant funds and programs established under the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA) and its subsequent reauthorizations. In addition to addressing violent crimes that disproportionately harm women and girls, the consultation will also focus on ways to improve access to local, regional, state, and federal crime information databases and criminal justice information systems.

More than four in five American Indian and Alaska Native adults have suffered some form of violence in their lifetime. This equates to nearly three million people who have experienced stalking, sexual violence or physical violence by intimate partners.

The Tribal grant awards are designed to help enhance Tribal justice systems and strengthen law enforcement responses, improve the handling of child abuse cases, combat domestic and sexual violence, support Tribal youth programs, and fund an array of services for American Indian and Alaska Native crime victims. The awards are administered through OVW, the Office of Justice Programs (OJP), and the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office).

OVW will award $28.04 million to 30 grantees under its Tribal Governments Program, which enhances Tribes’ ability to respond to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, and sex trafficking against Indian women, support survivor safety, and develop education and prevention strategies. To facilitate the development and operation of nonprofit, nongovernmental Tribal domestic violence and sexual assault coalitions, $6.38 million will be awarded to 19 grantees through the Tribal Coalitions Program.

OVW will also award seven grants totaling $3.67 million under the Tribal Sexual Assault Services Program, which supports projects to create, maintain, and expand services for sexual assault survivors provided by Tribes, Tribal organizations, and nonprofits within Tribal lands. Finally, under the Tribal Jurisdiction Program, four grants totaling $1.53 million will be awarded to Tribal governments to provide support and technical assistance in planning and implementing changes in their criminal justice systems to exercise special criminal jurisdiction and for expenses incurred in exercising the jurisdiction. 

OJP’s Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) has awarded more than $116 million through the Tribal Victim Services Set-Aside (TVSSA) to support the provision of services for crime victims in Tribal communities. Of special note is that FY 2022 TVSSA funding can now be used to help missing or murdered indigenous persons (MMIP) by providing services to the family members of MMIP victims; generating awareness of MMIP among community members in general as well as individual MMIP cases; and collaborating with Tribal, federal, and state and local officials to respond to MMIP cases. Another $2.95 million was awarded through OVC’s Project Beacon: Increasing Access to Services for Urban American Indian and Alaska Native Victims of Human Trafficking Program, created to increase the quantity and quality of victim-centered services available to assist Tribal victims of human trafficking in urban areas.

The Department also funded more than $6 million through OJP’s Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking to help tribes comply with federal law on sex offender registration and notification. Once the awards are made, information about the grantees selected under each solicitation can be found online at the OJP Grant Awards Page.

More than $82.2 million was awarded under the Coordinated Tribal Assistance Solicitation, or CTAS, a streamlined application which helps tribes apply for Tribal-specific grant programs that enhance law enforcement and Tribal justice practices, expand victim services and support prevention and intervention. CTAS grants are administered by OJP ($54.49 million) and the COPS Office ($27.72 million).

Under CTAS, the COPS Office awarded $27.72 million through awards to 47 Tribes to expand the implementation of community policing and meet the most serious needs of law enforcement in Tribal nations through a broadened comprehensive program. The funding can be used to hire or re-hire full-time career law enforcement officers and village public safety officers as well as to procure basic equipment, technology, and training to assist in the initiation or enhancement of Tribal community policing efforts.