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Sexual Assault Training in Indian Country

American Indian women suffer a high rate of sexual assault. According to a Bureau of Justice Statistics study on crime in Indian Country, American Indians have a higher rate of rape and sexual assault than any other demographic group studied. Advocates working with sexual assault victims in Indian Country do not have access to evidence-based training that incorporates key elements of traditional culture along with the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE)/Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) model of responding to victims. In 1997, OVC funded a grant called Building Skills for Sexual Assault Responders under which the Sexual Assault Advocate/Counselor Training curriculum was developed. Although the curriculum has not been finalized, it has been used to provide training in a number of jurisdictions. The Sexual Assault Training in Indian Country project will take the Sexual Assault Advocate/Counselor Training Program being piloted by the Sexual Assault Resource Service and adapt it for training sexual assault victim advocates and other first responders in American Indian communities. This evidence-based curriculum includes key information on the SANE/SART model and the important role that advocates play as part of a SART. The curriculum will be modified to include traditional cultural and spiritual elements based on input from American Indian advocates, pilot tested in several Indian communities, and revised based on feedback.

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