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Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) 2022

May 10, 2022

On March 15, 2022, President Biden signed the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization bill (VAWA 2022) as a part of the Omnibus funding bill (H.R. 2471), the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs has a provided an overview of the VAWA 2022. The tribal provisions of VAWA 2022 are included in Title VIII of Division W of the overall bill. VAWA 2022 does the following:

  • Builds on VAWA 2013’s tribal jurisdiction provision (covering domestic violence, dating violence, and protection order violations) by additional categories of criminal conduct that can be prosecuted by tribes against non-Indians (Special Tribal Criminal Jurisdiction) - sexual violence, stalking, sex trafficking, child violence, obstruction of justice, and assaults against justice personnel;
  • Replaces the term “special domestic violence criminal jurisdiction (SDVCJ)” with “special tribal criminal jurisdiction (STCJ)” throughout the law;
  • Removes the “sufficient ties” restriction that currently limits exercise of SDVCJ to only those non-Indian individuals who reside or are employed in Indian country or is the spouse, intimate partner, or dating partner of a member of an Indian Tribe or resident of Indian country;
  • Establishes a pilot program for Indian Tribes in Alaska to exercise Special Tribal Criminal Jurisdiction within Alaska Native villages;
  • Clarifies that the tribal jurisdiction restored through VAWA 2013/2022 applies to Indian Tribes in Maine;
  • Provides formal authorization for the Tribal Access Program (TAP); and
  • Reestablishes the U.S. Bureau of Prisons (BOP) Tribal Prisoner Program first authorized as a pilot in the 2010 Tribal Law and Order Act.

For more information, please check out the Section by Section Summary of VAWA 2022 Tribal Provisions by the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and the Inter-Tribal Working Group Summary of VAWA 2022 Tribal Provisions. Please note - the enhanced “special tribal criminal jurisdiction” provisions will not take effect until October 1, 2022. The current “special domestic violence criminal jurisdiction” will apply until then.

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