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Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) 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.

The Inter-Tribal Technical Assistance Working Group (ITWG) TA providers have just released an VAWA 2022 Tribal Provisions informational webinar and PowerPoint slides that you can use for community education.















“Overview of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) 2022”

Recorded on April 8, 2022


Presenters: Virginia Davis, Consultant, Tribal Law and Policy Institute and

Kelly Stoner, Victim Advocacy Legal Specialist, Tribal Law and Policy Institute


This webinar provides an overview of the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization bill (VAWA) 2022. The webinar discusses the VAWA 2013 and 2022 Tribal Jurisdiction Provisions. It also provides information about the Inter-Tribal Working Group and resources available to tribes.

Other Resources Include:

This Guide for Drafting or Revising Tribal Laws Against Domestic Violence includes examples from a variety of tribal codes designed to offer suggestions on how tribal laws can be drafted in a way that provides safety and support for the survivors of domestic violence. (2015)

This Implementing TLOA and VAWA resource provides guidance for Native nations interested in implementing enhanced sentencing under the Tribal Law and Order Act and/or the special domestic violence criminal jurisdiction under the 2013 Violence Against Women Act. (Updated 2016)

Tribal Domestic Violence Court-Docket Fact Sheet is a short fact-sheet that discusses the differences between Tribal Domestic Violence Courts and Tribal Domestic Violence Dockets. (2015)

Tribal Domestic Violence Case Law was developed to help tribal court officials learn about other Nation nations’ approach to certain legal issues in domestic violence cases. (2011) 

The Co-Occurrence of Child Maltreatment and Domestic Violence in Indian Country looks at the issues specific to Indian country relative to the co-occurrence of domestic violence and child maltreatment, highlights those practices that seem to be moving toward Native-specific promising practices, and recommends further action be taken in Indian country. (2011)

Sharing Our Stories of Survival is a general introduction to the social and legal issues involved in acts of violence against Native women. The stories and case-studies presented here are often painful and raw, and the statistics are overwhelmingly grim; but there is a countervailing theme: Many of the women who appear in these pages are survivors, often strengthened by their travails, and the violence examined here is human violence, meaning it can be changed. This publication also has a companion trainer's manual that can be downloaded for free. (2008)

Tribal Protection Orders Meeting Report.

This Barriers and Solutions to Enforcing Tribal Protection Orders Meeting Report recaps how tribally issued protection orders are a crucial means of providing safety and justice in Indian country, particularly given the extremely high rates of violence against Native women. However, for protection orders to be an effective means of providing safety, cross-jurisdictional enforcement is necessary, which can be a challenge. On December 6, 2017, the Tribal Law and Policy Institute, in collaboration with BJA, hosted a day-long meeting to explore the barriers and highlight promising strategies around the enforcement of tribal protection orders. This report details those discussions and summarizes the successful efforts. (2019)

Listen to The Grandmothers Video Guide and Resource features Native elders and provides a historical overview of violence against Native women, traditional responses to such violence and an analysis on incorporating cultural traditions into contemporary responses to violence against Native women. (2008) Click here to access the companion video.

Public Law 280 and the Sexual Assault of Native Women  is the final report on a 2007 focus group by the Office on Violence Against Women. The focus group discussed opportunities for tribal-state collaboration on PL 280 jurisdiction issues as they relate to sexual assault in Indian country. (2007)

Tribal Domestic Violence Courts Dockets

Tribal Domestic Violence Courts and Tribal Domestic Violence Dockets - Guide for Development of a Tribal Victim-Centered Specialized Court or Docket to More Effectively Address Domestic Violence Cases. Tribal Domestic Violence Courts are specialized courts comprised of judges, court staff and a multi-disciplinary core case team highly trained in the power and control dynamics of domestic violence and focused on victim safety and batterer accountability. Domestic Violence Dockets are specialized docket days with judges and court personnel trained in dynamics of domestic violence and enhanced security measures. This unique resource was drafted to guide Native nations through a series of exercises resulting in a tribal domestic violence court or docket specifically designed by the tribe to address the domestic violence issues in a particular tribal community. (2019)

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This Information Guide and Checklist suggests topics for advocates to discuss with victims in preparing to file a tribal protection order. This resource is particularly focused on drafting a tribal protection order in cases involving Tribal members. The checklist is not jurisdiction specific, so advocates should consult local rules, statutes and procedures in applicable jurisdictions and consult with legal counsel. The information provided is not legal advice. (2019)

Drafting an Enforceable Tribal Protectio

This Information Guide and Checklist suggests topics for advocates to discuss with victims in preparing to file a tribal protection order. This resource is particularly focused on drafting a tribal protection order in cases involving

non-members. The checklist is not jurisdiction specific, so advocates should consult local rules, statutes and procedures in applicable jurisdictions and consult with legal counsel. The information provided is not legal advice. (2019)

Co-Authored Publications: 

The Reauthorization of Violence Against Women in 2013 created the Pilot Project, which comprised of five tribes the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, Pascua Yaqui Tribe, Tulalip Tribes of Washington, Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of Fort Peck, and the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation in North Dakota. These tribes exercised the Special Domestic Violence Criminal Jurisdiction, which restored their partial power to criminally prosecute non-Indians for domestic violence offenses. The Pilot Project Report provides a brief account of the activities during the Pilot Project period from February 2014 – March 2015 and shares recommendations for next steps. (2016)

This report summarizes the results of the first five years of tribal government-expanded criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians under the tribal provisions of the 2013 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA 2013). (2018)

Victim Services in Indian Country highlights promising practices for assisting victims of violence and abuse in twelve Indian Country locations throughout the United States. Each description includes the program’s keys to success, relevant demographic data, and a contact for further information. (2004)

The Maze of Injustice is a groundbreaking report from Amnesty International that focuses on sexual violence against AI/AN women. Sexual violence is committed against AI/AN women at alarming rates and is compounded by federal erosion of tribal authority. This report covers international human rights law, issues of jurisdiction, policing, forensic exams, barriers to prosecution and support services. TLPI assisted with the development of this report. (2007)

Amnesty International has since released updated reports including the One Year Update to Maze of Injustice in Spring 2008. In May of 2022, Amnesty International released The Never-ending maze: Continued failure to protect Indigenous women from sexual violence in the USA. Since Amnesty International first reported on this issue in 2007, rates of violence against Indigenous women have not significantly changed, and the U.S. government continues to fail to adequately prevent and respond to such violence.

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