Alaska’s official rate of sexual violence is 2.5 times that of the national average, one of the highest in the United States and in the world. The rate of sexual violence committed against Alaskans under the age of 18 is, shockingly, almost 6 times that of the national average.
Although Alaska Natives comprise less than 20% of the state’s population, they suffer more than half of all reported sexual assaults committed in the entire state (54%). The Alaska Department of Public Safety’s official estimate is that an Alaska Native woman is sexually assaulted every 18 hours somewhere in the state.
These alarming statistics do not tell the full story. The actual rate of sexual violence estimated by professionals serving Alaska Native sexual assault survivors is frequently cited as 90% or greater for Alaska Native women and over 50% for men. In many Native villages, it can be difficult to locate one woman who has not experienced sexual violence.
The overwhelming majority of sex crimes committed against both male and female Alaska Natives are never reported to law enforcement. Lack of meaningful access to healthcare, justice systems, advocacy, safe shelter and social services along with stigma and shame often serve as strong deterrents to reporting.
Sexual abuse and violence against Alaska Native women is experienced across the lifespan and in a multitude of settings: at home, in schools, in the workplace, in the military, at places of worship, in assisted living, in cities, and in Villages.
Barriers to safety are particularly significant for Alaska Native victims in rural areas:
Sexual Violence Against Alaska Women: Village Public Safety Officers Having Some Impact
Village public safety officers, Alaska paraprofessional first-responders serving tribal communities, have significantly affected law enforcement’s response to reported cases of sexual abuse of minors, according to NIJ-supported research.
The Advocacy Tools tab offers resources for trained Victim Advocates, such as information about safety planning with sexual assault victims, confidentiality and privilege issues, working with sexual assault response teams, how to respond when served with a subpoena, and lists of Alaska victim services and shelter programs.
The Legal Information tab details the basic legal concepts and definitions related to sexual assault and the relevant Tribal, State and Federal statutes; and information about the types of protection orders available through Alaska State Courts as well as Tribal Courts and how to access existing protection order forms. Additional sub-sections contain material tailored for specific parties, including those working in Law Enforcement, Prosecutors, Tribal Courts, and Advocates.
The Medical & Health Information tab contains information relevant and helpful to certified Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs), the Sexual Assault Forensic Exams Support Training and Resources (SAFESTAR) program for rural Native communities who are not served by a locally available SANE, HIPAA compliance in relation to sexual assault, and the various health consequences, such as Sexually Transmitted Infections, victims face as a result of sexual assault.
Certain populations face additional challenges and require special considerations in services after experiencing a sexual assault. Information in the Special Victim Populations tab specifically addresses the needs of several of these populations; Elders, Teens, LGBTQI individuals, Victims with Disabilities, Incarcerated Victims, Students at Schools and Universities, victims of Human Trafficking, Spousal Rape, and Alcohol and Other Substances abuse in relation to sexual assault.
Additional Resources provides summary information, contact information and web links to a variety of other entities and organizations that provide services related to sexual assault services, such as US Government Departments, Tribal Technical Assistance Providers, Financial Resources, Housing, Professional Groups, Protection Orders and Injunctions, Sex Offenders, Stalking, State and Territorial Sexual Violence Codes, Tribal Law and Policy, Victim Rights, and more.
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*NICCSA is a project of the Southwest Center for Law and Policy (www.swclap.org) This project is supported by Grant No. 2017-SA-AX-K001, awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this publication/program/exhibition are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.