KTVA: Bills contain money to combat missing and murdered Indigenous women epidemic

Two funding bills that include money to help combat the epidemic of missing, murdered and trafficked Indigenous women passed the Senate Thursday and are headed to President Trump's desk to be signed, according to a release from the office of Sen. Lisa Murkowski. 

According to Murkowski's office, the investments from these funding bills will go toward preventing and prosecuting crimes against Indigenous women as well as looking into cold cases.

A 2017 report from the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium says homicide was the third leading causes of death for Alaska Natives between the ages of 15 and 24 from 2012 to 2015.

Recent cases involving the disappearances and deaths of Alaska Native women in Anchorage include a man accused of murdering Kathleen Henry and Veronica Abouchuk.

“These investments reinforce our commitment to pursuing justice for the many women and girls that have fallen victim to this epidemic and to preventing more sisters, mothers, and daughters from experiencing these horrors," Murkowski said in the release. "This bill package works to improve coordination among law enforcement and provide the necessary resources so that these families—these communities—have hope.”

Included in the funding bill:

•     $502.5 million for violence against women prevention and prosecution programs and money for research in remote communities underserved by law enforcement resources.

•     $38 million for tribal assistance with state and local law enforcement.

•     $30 million for tribal resources under the Community Oriented Policing Services program, an initiative to increase the number of police officers and ensure they are properly trained.

•     $6.5 million for the Bureau of Indian Affairs to take a comprehensive look at the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women. 

The bills also direct tribal, local, state and federal law enforcement to coordinate and share data.

By:  Jennifer Summers
Source: KTVA