This NIJ Journal article summarizes an NIJ funded study that analyzed sexual assault and domestic violence cases in western Alaska.
In Alaska, violence against women often occurs in remote villages underserved by law enforcement. To help gauge the impact of the state's unique force of village public safety officers on these crimes, the National Institute of Justice funded research by the University of Alaska to examine just over 1,500 cases in parts of western Alaska where quite a few of the tribal communities are concentrated. This article summarizes that study, which analyzed sexual assault as well as domestic violence cases. The scientific review of law enforcement records has revealed that Alaska's village public safety officers have significantly advanced law enforcement's response to cases of sexual abuse of minors in communities, in terms of referrals for prosecution. Although these officers have not had a similar impact on referrals of sexual assault of native women generally, or in domestic violence cases, their presence has been generally beneficial.