Native American women are physically abused, raped and stalked more than women of any other racial group in the nation. A new provision in the Violence Against Women Act, passed in February, allows Native American courts to prosecute non-Native offenders for the first time since the 1970s. While most expect the provision to help address violence against Native women, particularly in Western states, it also poses challenges for California’s tribal courts, which work with far fewer resources than county courts.
Walking into the classroom of Richmond’s Latina Center intimidated Maria Lourdes Sanchez. The other Spanish-speaking women in the room, who also came to develop their leadership skills, were welcoming. But Sanchez was still afraid.
Victims of domestic violence often fall through the cracks between police, social workers and health care providers. Contra Costa County is fighting that problem by preparing to centralize services for abused women in a one-stop center in Richmond.