According to a news release today, The Washington State Department of Commerce (Commerce) has awarded $8,450,105 in grant money to 16 Washington tribes for crime victims services. Lummi Nation was reported to receive $554,695.
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) provided the grant money through the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Crime Victims Fund. VOCA is a funding source for victim services throughout Washington and is administered in Washington State by the Office of Crime Victims Advocacy in the Department of Commerce.
According to the release, these funds are expected to be used to expand and enhance access to crime victim services in tribal communities, which are disproportionately affected by crime. A study cited in the release found American Indian and Alaska Native women and men suffer violence at a high rate. According to the study, more than 4 in 5 American Indian and Alaska Native women and men (84.3% and 81.6%, respectively) have experienced violence in their lifetime.
Programs supported by the funding focus on effective, accessible and culturally relevant victim services, such as traditional art therapy according to the release. As well, the grants are to enhance current services, improve coordination of child and youth programs, add parenting support services and expand services for elder and vulnerable adult victims of crime.
“This funding addresses critical needs in tribal communities and reflects significant progress in our combined efforts to improve coordination between tribes and state government,” said Commerce Director Brian Bonlender. “We were pleased that so many tribes applied for this funding.”