Feds start training program to combat sexual assault

Aug 24, 2012

Federal officials have started a training program to help the law enforcement community investigate and prosecute sexual assault cases on tribal land.

Representatives from nearly two dozen American Indian tribes turned out this week for the first training seminar at the National Advocacy Center in South Carolina.

Leslie Hagen is the U.S. Justice Department's Indian Country training coordinator. She says it's going to take federal and tribal commitment and a coordinated response to address the high rates of sexual violence in tribal communities.

Justice Department statistics show American Indians are 2.5 times more likely to be sexually assaulted compared to all other races. Also, one in three Native American women reports having been raped during her lifetime.

Some of the training is aimed at understanding federal statutes, initial crime scene investigation and forensic examinations.