The U.S. Department of Justice unveiled a new legislative proposal to stiffen federal prison sentences for certain domestic violence crimes in Indian Country and to expand tribal authority to enforce protective orders against non-natives living on reservations.
Reports show that domestic violence against Indian women is at an epidemic rate. One-third of all Native women will be raped, nearly 60% are assaulted by their partners, and murder rates are 10 time shigher for Native women than the national average.
According to a 1978 U.S. Supreme Court case, tribal governments do not have criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians. This ruling has negatively impacted the ability of tribal governments to protect their female citizens from violence by non-Indian domestic partners.