On June 13-14, 2012, after more than a year of planning and preparation, Legal Momentum’s National Judicial Education Program (NJEP), the Tulalip Tribal Court in Washington State, the Tulalip Tribes Board of Directors, and the Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) collaborated to present a specially tailored version of NJEP’s two-day Understanding Sexual Violence curriculum for the Tribal Court, Tulalip tribal leaders, first responders and service providers. This training was made possible by OVW through funding from the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Court Training and Improvements Program, and a unique collaboration among the Tulalip Tribes, NJEP, and OVW.
Under the leadership of the Tribal Court’s Chief Judge Theresa Pouley, the program was designed to enhance the Court’s handling of cases involving sexual assault and the intersection of sexual assault and domestic violence in which the offenders are Native Americans, (Tribal courts currently have no jurisdiction over non-Native Americans), and to help the community as a whole develop an action plan to respond to sexual violence within the Tulalip reservation. The Court recently began prosecuting domestic violence cases with the assistance of a prosecutor and an investigator funded by an OVW grant.
NJEP began working with Chief Judge Pouley and Court Director Wendy Church more than a year ago to select the participants, plan the program, choose the faculty, and develop the materials for the Understanding Sexual Violence program.
The Tulalip Tribal Court and NJEP worked very closely together to tailor the program to the tribal community, with NJEP Project Attorney Claudia Bayliff traveling to Tulalip for a site visit and meeting with key stakeholders. NJEP also conducted extensive research to identify relevant resources, and develop culturally-specific materials.
The first day of the program focused on victim impact. On the second day, Claudia Bayliff described traits of sex offenders and NJEP Director Lynn Hecht Schafran talked about the often-overlooked intersection between sexual assault and domestic violence. Then Ms. Bayliff and Ms. Schafran addressed, respectively, special considerations for jury selection and decision-making, and unique legal issues that arise in sexual assault cases as they are treated in the Tulalip Tribal Code. Day Two concluded with a capacity-building segment in which program participants explored Tulalip’s current resources, identified priorities and next steps, and developed an action plan to build their community’s ability to respond to sexual assault.
By the end of the training, Tulalip had identified several concrete, practical priorities and assigned responsibility for next steps to move forward on each one. To all involved, the expertise, passion, and dedication of the participants was remarkable, and the deep commitment to realizing the recommendations identified during the program was very clear. The funding provided by OVW under the Violence Against Women Act was invaluable to this training, and demonstrates the effectiveness and necessity of VAWA.
Several Tulalip community members served as expert faculty, including:
Roxanne Chinook, Tulalip STOP Violence Education Coordinator and Grant Specialist, Legacy of Healing.
Bill McKay, M. Ed., LMHC, Mental Health Clinical Supervisor, Tulalip Wellness Center.
Elishia Stewart, Advocacy Center and Safe House Manager, Legacy of Healing.
Cynthia Tompkins, Esq., Managing Attorney, The Advocates Group, Inc.
Dawn Young, R.N., Practice Team Manager, the Tulalip Health Clinic.
Two other nationally known experts, who have served as NJEP faculty for many years, also shared their expertise:
Sarah Deer, Esq., a citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) nation of Oklahoma, a professor at William Mitchell Law School, and a nationally recognized expert on violence against Native Women.
Janine M. D’Anniballe, Ph. D, Director of Access, Emergency, and Community Mental Health Partners for the Boulder County Mental Health Center, who is an expert on trauma and recovery.
Photo Credit: Tracy Vris. Left to Right:
Tracy Vris, Program Associate, National Judicial Education Program of Legal Momentum
Claudia J. Bayliff, Esq. Project Attorney, National Judicial Education Program of Legal Momentum
Janine D’Anniballe, Ph.D., Director of Access, Emergency and Community Services Mental Health Center, Serving Boulder and Broomfield Counties, CO
Roxanne Chinook, STOP Violence Education Coordinator and Grant Specialist, Legacy of Healing, Tulalip Tribes
Sarah Deer, Esq. Assistant Professor, William Mitchell College of Law
Deborah Parker, Vice Chairwoman, Tulalip Tribes Board of Directors
Lynn Hecht Schafran, Esq., Director, National Judicial Education Program of Legal Momentum
Chief Judge Theresa Pouley, Tulalip Tribal Court
Wendy Church, Court Director, Tulalip Tribal Court
Judy Colina, IT Services, Tulalip Tribal Court