Tester Works Across the Aisle to Raise Awareness for Missing Native Women
Senate Unanimously Passes Tester’s Resolution Designating May 5 as a National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls
(Big Sandy, Mont.) – The U.S. Senate last week unanimously passed Senator Jon Tester’s resolution designating May 5, 2018 as the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls.
Tester’s sponsored the bipartisan legislation to raise awareness, honor the Native American women who are missing or murdered, and identify solutions to end the epidemic.
“Shining light on this tragedy is the first step to better protect Native American daughters, sisters, mothers and wives,” said Tester, a member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. “By raising more awareness of this epidemic, we can identify solutions that will increase safety and hold violent offenders accountable. I will keep pushing to ensure that law enforcement has the resources they need to crack down on those who target Native American women and our communities have the support services available to help survivors get back on their feet.”
Native women and girls in Montana face a murder rate that is 10 times higher than the national average. According to the National Institute of Justice, more than 80 percent of Native American women have experienced violence and almost half have experienced it within the past year.
In addition to raising awareness, Tester has been fighting to strengthen public safety in Indian Country.
Tester is sponsoring the SURVIVE Act, which will establish a critical funding stream not previously accessible by tribes to support domestic violence shelters, legal assistance, and abuse prevention in Indian Country. The SURVIVE Act was passed unanimously out of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee and awaits a Senate floor vote. In a government funding bill earlier this year Tester secured $130 million from the Crime Victims Fund specifically for tribes to access these victim support resources.
Tester is also sponsoring Savanna’s Act to improve information sharing between federal, state and tribal law enforcement agencies, increase data collection, and enhance response protocols to combat violent crime against Native American Women and Girls.