A Summary of the Suggestions from the National Roundtable Discussion on Sexual Assault in Indian Country

Annotation:  This is a summary of suggestions from a National Roundtable in which a multidisciplinary group of professionals with expertise in developing, implementing, or improving a sexual assault response in tribal communities met to address this issue.
Abstract: 

The goals of the discussion were 1) to learn about tribal efforts to develop a coordinated, systemic response to sexual violence; 2) to highlight strategies to aid other tribal communities in developing or improving their response to sexual violence; and 3) to provide Federal, State, and local responders to sexual violence in Indian country with information on creating strategies to address sexual violence in American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities. This report on the Roundtable highlights key strategies for addressing challenges in responding to sexual assault identified by the tribes represented in the Roundtable discussions. It also provides examples of actions taken by tribal communities. The proposed strategies are intended to address the following nine challenges: 1) getting started in addressing the problem and sustaining efforts, 2) building tribal infrastructure, 3) promoting partnerships, 4) fostering respect for AI/AN sovereignty and culture, 5) reducing victim stigma and shame, 6) meeting victims’ needs, 7) recognizing differences in response to vulnerable populations, 8) improving SANE-SAFE efforts, and 9) improving the tribal justice process. In its concluding statement, this report advises that the highlighted strategies should not be viewed as the only ways to facilitate effective responses to sexual assault in tribal communities. Most strategies are briefly introduced rather than explained comprehensively. They are intended to assist tribal leaders in their discussions of each strategy’s usefulness for their particular tribal community. Appended listing of roundtable participants and observers, a listing of resources, and 40 notes

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