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Advocating for the Fair Treatment of Crime Victims

NCJ Number
Date Published
8 pages
This OVC (Office for Victims of Crime) Bulletin provides guidance on how to improve cooperation between tribal and federal agencies in managing child sexual abuse cases.
The Children's Justice Act of 1986 (CJA) makes money available to state and local governments for improving the management of child abuse cases through a multidisciplinary, coordinated approach that diminishes the trauma experienced by child victims. Much of the confusion and mishandling of such cases results from the lack of procedural clarity in determining whether tribal or federal officials have jurisdiction in a particular case, combined with provisions for concurrent jurisdiction in some cases. Consequently, victims of child sexual abuse have their trauma magnified due to multiple interviews conducted by various law enforcement and victim service providers. As a result, the federal government has launched a number of new initiatives that facilitate tribal and federal cooperation. These include the hiring of 26 Assistant U.S. Attorneys to work in districts with large Indian populations, the establishment of a Tribal Justice Office at the U.S. Department of Justice, and the creation of an American Indian and Alaskan Natives Office at the Justice Department's Office of Justice Programs. These offices are charged with monitoring program support and providing technical assistance to tribes. These efforts are guided by the recognition that tribal, state, and federal coordination of criminal investigation and prosecution is critical to ensuring the best treatment of child victims of sexual abuse. The information presented in this Bulletin is a starting point for determining criminal jurisdiction in such cases and the coordination of investigative and prosecutorial efforts. Additional information sources are listed.