Murkowski Requests Funding for Over-extended Abused Women's Shelter in Anchorage

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today called on the head of the Justice Department’s Violence Against Women office to provide up to $552,000 to help the Abused Women’s Aid in Crisis, or AWAIC, shelter in Anchorage cope with serious over-capacity.
In a letter to Catherine Pierce, acting director of the department’s Office of Violence Against Women, Murkowski said the Anchorage AWAIC is in “critical need” of $552,000 for additional staffing to meet the needs of domestic violence and shelter services.
“One of the most significant factors, among many, is the in-migration of rural residents to Anchorage,” Murkowski wrote. “The shelter currently has 52 beds and is serving nearly 90 women and children. The local fire marshal has informed the shelter it cannot exceed 90 people. AWAIC is working with the Anchorage community to determine a short-term and long-term plan to meet the growing needs of the shelter and domestic violence services.
Alaska has had one of the highest rates of sexual assault in the United States and it is an issue that acutely affects Alaska Native women. A 2007 report by Amnesty International highlighted the alarming occurrence of sexual assault in Anchorage.
The report said that between 2000 and 2003, Alaska Native women were 9.7 times more likely to experience sexual assault than others. The Anchorage Police Department more recently reported that although Alaska Native and American Indian women make up only 7.8 percent of the Anchorage population, they represent 45 percent of the victims of female sexual assault.
Murkowski asked Acting Director Pierce to make any money available out of her office’s discretionary accounts.