March | April 2013

Justice Department Launches Task Force To Improve Responses to Violence Against Children in Tribal Communities
Photo of Attorney General Eric Holder, Acting Associate Attorney General Tony West, and OJJDP Administrator Robert L. Listenbee.
At the Coordinating Council meeting on April 12, 2013, Attorney General Eric Holder (center) announced that Acting Associate Attorney General Tony West (left) will oversee the creation of an American Indian/Alaska Native task force on children exposed to violence. Seated on the right is Robert L. Listenbee, Administrator of OJJDP.

On April 12, 2013, Attorney General Eric Holder outlined initial steps to implement the recommendations of the National Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence, part of his Defending Childhood Initiative to address children’s exposure to violence. As his first action, the Attorney General announced that Acting Associate Attorney General Tony West will oversee the creation of an American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) task force on children exposed to violence.
 
The proposed task force will be a joint effort between the Departments of Justice and the Interior, and tribal governments. The task force will focus on improving the identification and treatment of AI/AN children exposed to violence, supporting communities and tribes as they define their own responses to this problem, and involving tribal youth in developing solutions. 

The National Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence presented its final report and recommendations to the Attorney General in December, calling for universal identification, assessment, and treatment of children who witness or are victims of violence. The recommendations also call for training for professionals who work with children to identify and respond to the trauma caused to children when they witness or are victims of violence. The Justice Department will provide additional details on the implementation of the recommendations in the coming months. These efforts will build on the national task force’s call to support the field, raise public awareness, build knowledge, and increase Department and federal coordination and capacity.

The Attorney General announced the new task force during the spring meeting of the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, which is administered by OJJDP.

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More information about the recommendations of the Attorney General’s National Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence is available online.