Woman with red handprint on her mouth, a symbol of solidarity with missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls

July 27, 2022

Resource Spotlight: Violence Against Indigenous Women and Girls

The World Health Organization reports that violence against women is a global public health problem. This includes physical, sexual, and psychological abuse by intimate partners as well as non-partner violence and coerced sexual violence.

One particularly alarming crisis is the violence experienced by Indigenous women and girls of North America. American Indian and Alaska Native women experience higher rates of violence than non-Native women. This issue is further compounded by the difficulties over the years in bringing non-Native perpetrators to justice due to the complexities of tribal courts versus federal court jurisdiction in these cases; this is a concern because interracial violence is more common than intraracial violence in Native American communities. Progress has been made this year with President Biden’s Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act which includes the expansion of Tribal courts criminal jurisdiction over non-Native perpetrators of stalking, child abuse, sex trafficking and sexual assault.

This change, along with more coverage on the topic, will hopefully make a difference in Native communities where many cases of missing or murdered women and girls remain unsolved.

UW Indigenous-Focused Resources

Maze of Injustice : The Failure to Protect Indigenous Women from Sexual Violence in the USA (2007 print)


A Broken Trust (2019). “A harrowing deep dive into the racial group most likely to be raped in the U.S. - American Indian and Alaska Native women...”


U.S. Administration for Children & Families: Keeping us Whole : Preventing Missing and Murdered Indigenous People - podcast series


Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and girls: A Case for Abuse Screening in At-Risk Paediatric Populations (2020 article)


Cover of Forever Loved: Exposing the Hidden Crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in CanadaForever Loved: Exposing the Hidden Crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Canada. (2016 eBook)



Local, State and National Resources

Logo for the Washington State PatrolState Launches M.I.P.A. – Missing Indigenous Person Alert System


Logo for the Indian Health ServicesIndian Health Service: The Federal Health Program for American Indians and Alaska Natives: Intimate Partner Violence Prevention.


Microsoft logoMicrosoft Feature Stories: A Newspaper shines a light on missing Indigenous women with the help of technology. (2022 article)


Logo for the National Indigenous Women's Resource CenterNational Indigenous Women’s Resource Center.


Logo for the WomenSpirit CoalitionWomenSpirit Coalition. Washington State Native American Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.


Logo for the Harvard International ReviewHarvard International Review article: Indigenous Women: The Invisible Victims of Femicide in Mexico. (2020)


Image credit: Wikipedia entry. (2022). Red handprint. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_handprint.