Haaland Introduces VAWA Amendments to Combat Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Crisis

April 2, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Haaland (NM-01) introduced two amendments to the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization (VAWA), HR 1585, to combat the missing and murdered indigenous women crisis.

As of right now, there are no services available to Native American women who live in urban areas, and there are challenges to providing adequate services to Native Americans experiencing domestic violence and preventing the silent crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women due to a lack of communications between law enforcement agencies.

One of the Congresswoman’s amendments works to provide victim advocate services to urban Indians in state courts and the other improves public safety in Indian Country through bolster accessibility Tribal Access Program (TAP) database that is available to Tribes and works toward ensuring law enforcement agencies share information to keep survivors of domestic violence safe.

“The stakes are too high to keep the status quo in place,” said Congresswoman Deb Haaland. “I’m introducing potentially life-saving amendments so that we can begin to break the cycles of domestic violence and missing and murdered indigenous women by providing resources and information sharing amendments to keep survivors of domestic violence safe from harm ultimately preventing future cases.”

Recent reports by the Urban Indian Health Institute identified 506 cases of missing and murdered indigenous women across 71 urban cities — New Mexico ranked number one for the highest number of missing and murdered indigenous women cases with 78 cases. However, these numbers are estimated to be extremely low due to the lack of resources to track cases of missing and murdered indigenous women in urban areas.

Each of Congresswoman Haaland’s amendments has bipartisan support and passed in the U.S. House Rules Committee today.