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Tester reintroduces bill to boost aid for tribal victims of sexual and domestic abuse

Posted at 2:25 PM, Jan 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-25 16:25:46-05
U.S. Sen. Jon Tester

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester has announced he is reintroducing the Securing Urgent Resources Vital to Indian Victim Empowerment (SURVIVE) Act.

The bill would give tribes access to a critical source of funding they can use to help survivors of sexual and domestic violence get back on their feet.

States can apply for resources through the Crimes Victims Fund directly, but tribes have to go through the states, according to a Friday press release.

As a result, these funds rarely make their way to Indian Country. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Indian Country received less than 0.5 percent of Crime Victims Funds between 2010 and 2014.

The SURVIVE Act would set aside funding each year that tribes could use to help survivors pay for shelter, medical care, counseling, and legal assistance.

Tester, a Montana Democrat, originally introduced this bill back in 2016 after hearing directly from tribal leaders about the need for more victim services across Indian Country, according to the press release.