National Institute on the Prosecution of Domestic Violence in Indian Country

January 12 - 15, 2016

The National Indian Country Training Initiative, in partnership with AEquitas, an Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) funded Technical Assistance provider, hosted the National Institute on the Prosecution of Domestic Violence in Indian Country (NIPDVIC). The training was held on January 12-15, 2016, at the National Advocacy Center in Columbia, South Carolina. Travel and lodging accommodations were paid for by the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Education.

The Institute was a three and one-half day course designed to challenge federal, state, and tribal prosecutors and tribal attorneys to reevaluate their approach to prosecuting domestic violence. NIPDVIC explored the complex issues faced by prosecutors in balancing offender accountability and the impact of criminal prosecution on victims. In addition to practical case evaluation and trial advocacy skills, the curriculum addressed the development and improvement of culturally sensitive victim responses by prosecutors; examined the benefits of developing a coordinated community and tribal/federal response; explained common injuries, relevant medical evidence and offered guidance on the use of medical experts; provided guidance in evidence-based prosecution methods; explored ethical issues confronted by prosecutors; and offered prosecutors the ability to redefine outcomes and the very nature of justice in domestic violence cases. The Institute also addressed considerations for tribes interested in prosecuting cases pursuant to Special Domestic Violence Criminal Jurisdiction provided for in the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA 2013).

NIPDVIC used hypothetical case problems, role-playing exercises, small group discussions, mini-lectures, and faculty demonstrations. Participants employed hands-on case evaluation, preparation, and trial skills to understand domestic violence in the many contexts in which it occurs, and examined their attitudes and practices. NIPDVIC's highly interactive format enabled prosecutors from different jurisdictions, with varied levels of experience, to learn from one another and engage in "real-life" activities and mock court proceedings that are readily transferable to their work.

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