Violence Against American Indian and Alaska Native Women: Primary Data Collection

Primary data collection — the collection of information from first-hand sources using methods like questionnaires, interviews and case studies — is a component of NIJ's research program on Violence Against American Indian and Alaska Native Women. Primary data collection is important because many of the data required to address the goals of the research program are not available from data systems or sources, have not been collected, or have been collected but are incomplete.

NIJ has three primary data collection efforts under way:

  1. Tribal Study of Public Safety and Public Health Issues Facing American Indian and Alaska Native Women
  2. American Indian and Alaska Native Lifetime Prevalence of Interpersonal and Sexual Violence Survey
  3. Federal and Tribal Response to Indian Country Crime Study

1. Tribal Study of Public Safety and Public Health Issues Facing American Indian Women

The Violence Against Indian and Alaska Native Women (VAIW) Pilot Study

Meeting Summary

Review a summary (pdf, 18 pages) from the Pilot Study Research Workshop.

The VAIW pilot study was developed with input from tribal stakeholders to help ensure that NIJ's forthcoming national VAIW study would be viable, culturally and community appropriate, and respectful of those involved; and that the information collected would be relevant and helpful. With the approval of tribal leadership, several tribal communities were selected to pilot test the VAIW survey and methods for selecting and recruiting survey participants. The VAIW pilot study was conducted from November 2011 through March 2012.

The VAIW pilot study goals were:

  • To create and test a survey instrument with women who self-reported as American Indian (AI) or Alaska Native (AN) and resided on recognized tribal lands in the United States.
  • To test study methodology, including different sampling strategies and data collection approaches.

The survey instrument tested included several domains, such as perceptions of community crime and safety; victimization experiences; victim and perpetrator characteristics; impact of victimization; reporting of victimization; service needs, seeking and use; attitudes toward the criminal justice system; and community strengths. The questions were developed by the research team or adapted from a variety of surveys.

Read the Violence Against Indian Women Pilot Study Research Workshop meeting summary (pdf, 18).

Field Implementation of the Tribal Study of Public Safety and Public Health Issues Facing American Indian and Alaska Native Women (also referred to as the National Baseline Study)

In partnership with NIJ, a research team will implement the study designed to generate estimates of the prevalence and incidence of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking among adult AI and AN women in Indian Country and Alaska Native villages. Based on a solid, scientific sampling design plan; sufficient funding; and tribal nation participation, a satisfactory number of sites will be identified for data collection that reflect a high-quality geographic distribution of AI and AN women that reside in Indian Country and Alaska Native villages throughout the entire United States.

2. American Indian and Alaska Native Lifetime Prevalence of Interpersonal and Sexual Violence Survey

As part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Study (NISVS), the AI and AN population was oversampled in calendar year 2010 — the oversample comes primarily from urban areas. The goal of this project is to generate geographically representative estimates for AI and AN lifetime prevalence of interpersonal and sexual violence. Data from this additional study were not presented in the 2010 NISVS Report released December 15, 2011, but will be described in a future NIJ publication.

Read the NISVS Report.

3. Federal and Tribal Response to Indian Country Crime Study

NIJ is collecting detailed information on federal and tribal responses to sexual violence, intimate partner violence, and stalking of AI and AN women living in tribal communities. The study involves several complementary data collection activities, including face-to-face interviews with federal and tribal agency representatives responsible for investigating and prosecuting these crimes — including tribal law enforcement officers and prosecutors; FBI special agents and victim specialists; members of the U.S. Attorney's Office (USAO); tribal liaisons; victim/witness staff; and Bureau of Indian Affairs agents, criminal investigators, and victim specialists — and documenting district policies, training, and outreach efforts.

Study findings are expected to provide a clearer understanding of existing issues in the justice system responses to violence against AI and AN women to improve law enforcement, prosecution and judicial responses (including interagency coordination and communication); strengthen training and outreach efforts to build cultural competence; build victims' trust in law enforcement; encourage reporting of victimization; and, ultimately, reduce violence among AI and AN living in tribal communities.

Date Modified: February 20, 2013