A pilot program to help victims of rape find “justice and recovery” is being launched on Montana’s six reservations.
AP reporter Matt Brown has the full story:
Special response teams to handle sexual assaults are being established on six Montana reservations in a bid to curb high rates of rape and other abuses against American Indians, U.S. Justice Department officials announced Wednesday.
One in three Native women have been victims of sexual assault.
Authorities say such crimes often go unreported on reservations, where victims living in close-knit communities fear reprisal or rejection if the abuse were to be reported.
But Acting Associate Attorney General Tony West said the sexual assault response teams could give victims new confidence in the criminal justice system.
West joined U.S. Attorney for Montana Mike Cotter and tribal leaders from eastern Montana’s Crow Indian Reservation Wednesday in Crow Agency to announce the initiative.
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Crow Vice-Chairman Calvin Coolidge Jefferson said he hoped that with the new program, “our mothers and sisters will have access to justice and to recovery.”
“I want to encourage victims, survivors and their family members to come forward, to offer support for each other in the pursuit of justice and healing,” Jefferson said.