FRIDAY, JANUARY 24, 1997202/307-0703



SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA -- Attorney General Reno today called for greater assistance to Indian tribes to aid Native American crime victims. "We must do what we can to provide access to justice for all Americans, including our nation's first Americans," said Reno. "We can help victims in Indian country by joining in partnership and working within the framework of the tribal justice system, respecting Indian traditions and customs." Reno spoke at the Sixth National Indian Nations: Justice for Victims of Crime Conference, sponsored by the Department's Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) and organized by the National Indian Justice Center (NIJC).

The conference is providing training for 600 victim service providers, prosecutors, law enforcement officials, judicial personnel, and health professionals from the tribal, state and federal levels on assisting Native American victims of crime.

Reno thanked conference participants, organizers and especially crime victim advocates for their commitment and efforts on behalf of Indian crime victims.

Reno also focused on recent federal efforts to improve services for federal victims of crime in Indian country, including OVC's Victim Assistance in Indian Country grant program, which aids tribes in establishing and improving services, such as crisis intervention, emergency shelter, counseling and court advocacy, for Native American crime victims. OVC currently funds 32 such programs in 18 states.

OVC also administers the Children's Justice Act Grant Program for Native Americans (CJA), which was created in response to a number of multiple-victim child sexual abuse cases in Indian country. CJA supports tribes in improving the investigation and prosecution of child abuse cases. OVC has awarded funding to 40 tribal projects since the program's inception in 1989.

"We are making great strides in providing services to the previously underserved Native American population," said OVC Director Aileen Adams. "OVC supported the first joint tribal-federal judges training to address issues related to child victims."

In conjunction with the Department's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and the National Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Association, OVC has funded start-up projects in several tribal court systems and made funding available to establish children's advocacy centers in Indian country.

NIJC was established by the National American Indian Court Judges Association, the American Indian Lawyer Training Program and the Bureau of Indian Affairs in 1983 as an independent national organization dedicated to improving the administration of justice in Indian country.

Conference workshop topics include gang violence, juvenile justice, drunk driving, Violence Against Women Act initiatives, cultural sensitivity and community crisis response, among others.

To learn more about OVC and its programs, visit their World Wide Web site at or call the OVC Resource Center at 800/627-6872.



After hours, contact: Linda Mansour on 888/582-6753