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Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What can Tribes do under the new law?

VAWA 2022 builds on VAWA 2013’s Tribal jurisdiction provision (covering domestic violence, dating violence, and protection order violations) by incorporating additional categories of criminal conduct that can be prosecuted by Tribes against non-Indians including sexual violence, stalking, sex trafficking, child violence, obstruction of justice, and assault against Tribal justice personnel. VAWA 2022 also creates a pilot program for Indian Tribes in Alaska to exercise Special Tribal Criminal Jurisdiction within Alaska Native villages; 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. The law is voluntary and does not change the responsibility of the federal or state governments to prosecute crimes in Indian country.

2. When did the law take effect and when will it expire?​

VAWA 2022 went into effect on October 1, 2022. After that date, any Indian Tribe who chooses to do so and who has amended their Tribal codes, policies, and procedures to meet the statutory requirements can exercise jurisdiction over non-Indians. The jurisdiction provisions of VAWA 2022 do not expire and do not require reauthorization. 

3. Do Tribes need approval to exercise jurisdiction over non-Indians?​

No. VAWA 2022 does not require any approval. If a Tribal government decides to make use of this authority, they are responsible for ensuring that all of the statutory requirements are met. 

4. What funding is available for implementing this law? ​

Various federal grants are available that Tribal governments can use for these purposes. In addition, VAWA 2022 directed Department of Justice (DOJ) to create a reimbursement program that can be used for some related costs. 

5. How does VAWA 2022 impact state and federal jurisdiction on Tribal lands? 

VAWA 2022 does not change existing state or federal jurisdiction on Tribal lands in any way. Tribal jurisdiction over non-Indians is concurrent jurisdiction. 

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