News and Announcements

Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney’s Office

District of New Mexico


OCTOBER 12, 2017

Non-Indian Man Pleads Guilty to Sexually Abusing Navajo Woman – Defendant Prosecuted as Part of Federal Initiative to Address the Epidemic Incidence of Violence Against Native Women

ALBUQUERQUE – Mark Silva, 48, of Sundance, N.M., pled guilty this morning in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to a sexual abuse charge.  Under the terms of his plea agreement, Silva will be sentenced to 60 months of imprisonment followed by a term of supervised release to be determined by the court.  Silva will also be required to register as a sex offender.

Silva was arrested on April 4, 2017, on an indictment charging him with sexual abuse on May 1, 2016, on the Navajo Indian Reservation in McKinley County, N.M.

During today’s proceedings, Silva pled guilty to the indictment and admitted that on May 1, 2016, he sexually abused a Navajo woman.  Silva further admitted that he engaged in the sexual act while knowing that the victim was incapable of declining participation in or communicating unwillingness to engage in the sexual act.  Silva remains in custody pending a sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.

This case was investigated by the Gallup office of the FBI.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph M. Spindle pursuant to the Tribal Special Assistant U.S. Attorney (Tribal SAUSA) Pilot Project in the District of New Mexico which is sponsored by the Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women under a grant administered by the Pueblo of Laguna.  The Tribal SAUSA Pilot Project seeks to train tribal prosecutors in federal law, procedure and investigative techniques to increase the likelihood that every viable violent offense against Native women is prosecuted in either federal court or tribal court, or both.  The Tribal SAUSA Pilot Project was largely driven by input gathered from annual tribal consultations on violence against women, and is another step in the Justice Department’s on-going efforts to increase engagement, coordination and action on public safety in tribal communities.


SEPTEMBER 20, 2017

U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women

Washington, DC

Call for Nominations to the Task Force on Research on Violence Against American Indian and Alaska Native Women

The Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) is seeking nominations for members of the Task Force on Research on Violence Against American Indian and Alaska Native Women (Task Force). First chartered on March 31, 2008, the Task Force has assisted the United States Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and OVW in the implementation of a program of research that examines violence against Indian women in Indian Country, including domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, murder, and sex trafficking, and in evaluating the effectiveness of federal, state, tribal and local responses to these crimes. The Task Force was authorized by Section 904(a)(3) of the Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005 (Pub. L. No. 109-162) and is subject to the requirements of the Federal Advisory Committee Act. To ensure that the Department of Justice continues to receive timely advice from the Task Force, the Task Force was re-chartered and filed with Congress. on July 13, 2016.

The Task Force last met in March of 2013. Because so much time had passed since the last Task Force meeting, some members could no longer serve. In October of 2016, OVW sought nominations for new Task Force members. OVW received only nine submissions in response to last year’s request for nominees; therefore we have decided to re-solicit for nominations to ensure that we have a nominee pool that reflects the entities described in the statute and that has diverse expertise and experience. By statute, Task Force members must be representatives of one of the following entities: tribal governments; national tribal domestic violence and sexual assault non-profit organizations; or national tribal organizations.

For each nominee, the nominating entity should submit a cover letter recommending the individual to serve and explaining the individual’s qualifications to serve on the Task Force, as well as a copy of the individual’s resume or curriculum vitae. The cover letter and supporting documentation should be submitted by e-mail to no later than Tuesday, November 14, 2017. OVW will conduct a vetting process on the nominations, which will include a telephone interview, public records search, input from NIJ, and forwarding the nominees’ names to the Attorney General, including those recommended by OVW for selection, for his

Task Force members have provided valuable feedback on NIJ’s program of research priorities, research design strategies, research and evaluation protocol issues, and research and evaluation findings from studies conducted to date. Moving forward, the Task Force will continue to play an important role in shaping the program and will assist NIJ and OVW with disseminating results that will influence policy and practice. The Task Force is a working body that will produce reports and other important documents. Task Force members are expected to: attend meetings that usually last 1-2 days; be prepared to discuss topics and materials distributed in advance of each meeting; and draft written recommendations and reports, as necessary. Additional information on the Task Force can be found on the OVW and NIJ websites at: and https:/ / OVW and NIJ hope to schedule the next meeting for the spring of 2018.

Please feel free to contact Sherriann C. Moore, Deputy Director of Tribal Affairs at (202) 616-0039, if you have questions regarding the nomination process.

SEPTEMBER 15, 2017

Webinar: Tribal Consultation on Violence Against Women 2017 – Why Attendance of Indian Tribes Is Urgent

When: September 25, 2017 at 10:00 AM Mountain (8am Alaska, 9am Pacific, 11am Central, 12pm Eastern).

Register for the webinar at:

VAWA 2005 requires DOJ, HHS, and DOI to consult with Indian tribes on an annual basis. This interaction on a nation-to-nation basis has allowed tribal governments and the United States to discuss matters that at the broadest level impact the safety of Indian women, and to propose strategies to address these issues. We hope that you will join our webinar to review outstanding or emerging issues to address the most serious roadblocks to the safety of Native women and how you can voice your concerns and provide recommendations to increase accountability and enhance the safety for Native women.

Tribal Title, Section 903 Tribal Consultation Mandate
The Tribal Consultation Mandate is found in Title IX. Safety for Indian Women §903. It specifically directs the Attorney General, Secretary of HHA and Secretary of Interior to conduct an annual consultation with Indian tribal governments concerning the federal administration of tribal funds and programs established under the Violence Against Women Act. During such consultations, DOJ, HHS, and DOI are required to solicit recommendations from Indian tribes concerning three specific areas:

(1) Administering tribal funds and programs;
(2) Enhancing the safety of Indian women from domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking;
(3) Strengthening the federal response to such violent crimes.

In addition to these three general topics, the agencies also often release “framing papers” or consultation questions in advance of the consultation. Those have not yet been distributed, but we will circulate them as soon as they become available.

12th Annual Government to Government On Violence Against Women Tribal Consultation
When: October 3-4, 2017
Where: We-Ko-Pa Resort and Conference Center, Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, Fountain Hills, AZ

For more information go to: Logistical information is available at:

Click Tribal Consultation Agenda to view the agenda.

AUGUST 16, 2017

Department of Justice Announces Additional Expansion of Program to Enhance Tribal Access to National Crime Information Databases.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) is continuing to expand the Tribal Access Program (TAP) for National Crime Information in FY18; TAP provides federally-recognized tribes access to national crime information databases for both civil and criminal purposes. TAP is currently primarily funded by the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART) and the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS). As such, TAP is currently prioritizing deployments to tribes that:

  • Have a Tribal sex offender registry pursuant to the Adam Walsh Act and are currently unable to directly submit data to national crime information databases; and/or
  • Have a Tribal law enforcement agency (not BIA direct service), that will use TAP to access the National Criminal Information Center (NCIC), Next Generation Identification (NGI), and other national databases to both view (query) and enter information.

TAP supports the selected tribes in analyzing their needs for national crime information and provides access, technology and training.

For more information, go to: TAP FY18 Announcement – Section 508 compliant-1. For more about Tribal Access Program success and benefits, see the TAP Benefits Brochure.

To learn more, go to:  WWW.JUSTICE.GOV/TRIBAL/TAP

AUGUST 15, 2017

Indian Country Strangulation and Suffocation Seminar
Columbia, South Carolina, November 6-9, 2017

DUE DATE: Nominations are due by September 22, 2017

The Department of Justice’s National Indian Country Training Initiative (NICTI), together with the Training Institute on Strangulation Prevention, is holding an Indian Country Strangulation and Suffocation Seminar on November 6-9, 2017, at the National Advocacy Center (NAC).

Strangulation is a lethal form of violence and is common in domestic violence and sexual assault cases. This three and one-half day course is designed for experienced federal and tribal multi- disciplinary professionals (prosecutors, law enforcement officers, advocates, medical professionals) who work domestic violence and sexual assault cases in Indian Country. This course will provide an in-depth examination of the mechanics of strangulation and suffocation from a medical, legal, law enforcement and advocacy perspective.

Participants are encouraged to register as a team; for example, a prosecutor and investigator or a prosecutor and a medical provider may register as a team. Individual registrations will also be considered. Training Officers/SACs/SSRAs are invited to nominate individuals from their Division or Department who would benefit from this training opportunity.

Please complete the Nomination Form for each of your nominees and E-Mail it to the attention of Delores McCarter, Office of Legal Education. Nominations are due by Friday, September 22, 2017.

The NICTI will review all nominations and send an e-mail advising nominees of their selection on or about October 3, 2017. Selected nominees will also receive information on how to book travel and lodging.

In order to ensure that our records are correct, please type in the required information when completing the nomination forms.  Illegible and/or incomplete forms will not be considered.

Due to the increasing number of last minute cancellations, we must ask that only nominations for those who are certain to attend be submitted.

The Executive Office for United States Attorneys will provide reasonable accommodations to people with disabilities. Requests should be made to Delores McCarter as early as possible, preferably at least two weeks in advance of the seminar. No nominee will be excluded from a course on the basis of a disability-related accommodations request.

This training is authorized under the Government Employees Training Act.

MAY 30, 2017

Bureau of Justice Statistics | Office of Justice Programs | U.S. Department of Justice:

Police Response to Domestic Violence, 2006-2015 (NCJ 250231) is now available on This report presents 2006-15 data on:

  • Nonfatal domestic violence victimizations reported to police
  • Police response to these victimizations
  • Prevalence of related arrests or charges
  • Criminal complaints signed against the offender.

Domestic violence includes serious violence (rape or sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault) and simple assaults committed by intimate partners (spouse, former spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend), immediate family members (parent, child, or sibling), or other relatives. Data are from the National Crime Victimization Survey, which obtained victims’ descriptions of police actions during their initial response to a reported crime and any follow-up contact with the victim.

Download the Full Report

Download the Summary


MAY 22, 2017


Funding Opportunity: Family Violence Prevention and Services/Domestic Violence Shelter and Supportive Services/Grants to Native American Tribes (including Alaska Native Villages) and Tribal Organizations. HHS-2017-ACF-ACYF-FVPS-1211.

Announcement Link:

Solicitation Link:


Funding Opportunity Title: Family Violence Prevention and Services/Domestic Violence Shelter and Supportive Services/Grants to Native American Tribes (including Alaska Native Villages) and Tribal Organizations
Funding Opportunity Number: HHS-2017-ACF-ACYF-FVPS-1211
Program Office: Family and Youth Services Bureau
Funding Type: Mandatory
Funding Instrument Type: Grant
Announcement Type: Initial
CFDA: 93.671
Post Date: 05/22/2017
Application Due Date: 07/10/2017
Description: This announcement governs the proposed award of formula grants under the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) to Native American Tribes (including Alaska Native Villages) and Tribal organizations. The purpose of these grants is to assist Tribes in efforts to increase public awareness about, and primary and secondary prevention of, family violence, domestic violence, and dating violence, and to provide immediate shelter and supportive services for victims of family violence, domestic violence, or dating violence, and their dependents.  Grantees are to be mindful that although the expenditure period for grants is a two-year period, an application is required each year to provide continuity in the provision of services.

APRIL 11, 2017

The U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women has announced that the 2016 Annual Tribal Consultation on Violence Against Alaska Native and American Indian Women Report is now available.

Click to view and download the Cover Letter and the 2016 Annual Consultation Report.

MARCH 7, 2017


Contact Mallory Black:

StrongHearts Native Helpline Launches as a Critical Resource for Domestic Violence and Dating Violence in Tribal Communities

For the first time in history, a culturally-relevant, safe and confidential resource is available for Native American survivors of domestic violence and dating violence, who now make up more than 84 percent of the entire U.S. Native population. The National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC) and The Hotline have launched the first, national crisis line dedicated to serving tribal communities affected by violence across the U.S., called the StrongHearts Native Helpline.

Starting today, Native survivors in Kansas, Oklahoma and Nebraska – the helpline’s initial service areas — will be able to connect at no cost, one-on-one, with knowledgeable StrongHearts advocates who will provide support, assist with safety planning and connect them with resources based on their specific tribal affiliation, community location and culture. Callers outside of these states can still call StrongHearts while the helpline continues to develop its services network. All services available through the helpline are confidential and available by dialing 1-844-7NATIVE (1-844-762-8483) Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. CST. Callers after hours will have the option to connect with the National Domestic Violence Hotline or to call back the next business day.

“The reality is that so many of our American Indian and Alaska Native people experience domestic violence and dating violence every day,” said Lucy Rain Simpson, executive director of NIWRC and a citizen of Navajo Nation. “It has never been more evident that our Native people need a Native helpline to support efforts to restore power and safety in our tribal communities. The StrongHearts Native Helpline is ready to answer that call.”

The StrongHearts Native Helpline was created by and for Native Americans who, compared to all other races in the U.S., are twice as likely to experience rape or sexual assault, two and a half times more likely to experience violent crimes and five times more likely to be victims of homicide in their lifetimes. Even though a staggering four in five experience violence, Native Americans have historically lacked access to services.

“The Hotline has served victims and survivors of domestic violence for 20 years, and we recognize that Native American survivors have uniquely complex needs,” said Katie Ray-Jones, CEO of The Hotline. “Through StrongHearts, domestic violence advocates will be able to address those complex needs with an unparalleled level of specificity.”

Advocates at the StrongHearts Native Helpline are trained to navigate each caller’s abuse situation with a strong understanding of Native cultures, as well as issues of tribal sovereignty and law, in a safe and accepting environment, free of assumption and judgment. Callers will be treated with dignity, compassion, and respect by a well-trained professional.

“To enhance access to services and meet the unique needs of Native survivors, a dedicated Native helpline that provides support and connections to shelter, advocacy, and other services is critical,” states Marylouise Kelley, FVPSA Program Division Director.

Initially, StrongHearts will focus efforts on providing services to survivors who live in Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma, which combined make up more than 12.5 percent of the country’s entire Native American population.

“The team will leverage the large number of Native-centered resources established within these states to begin providing services, with further outreach to tribal communities as StrongHearts continues to grow,” said Simpson.

The StrongHearts Native Helpline plans to purposefully and thoughtfully expand its services to Native American survivors nationwide – based on utilization, demand and resources available.

“Verizon is proud to be the first corporate sponsor of the StrongHearts Native Helpline, a resource that will provide a crucial space for Native people to find support,” said Stuart Conklin, program manager at the Verizon Foundation. “We look forward to its success and continuing to build on a lasting partnership.”










MSH-TA is supported by Grant No. 2015-TA-AX-K028, awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in the publications/program/exhibition are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.


Working to End Violence Against Native American Women

Your Gift is Greatly Appreciated!