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Speeches & Testimony


Speeches & Testimony

Ensuring the Full Inclusion of Native Hawaiians in VAWA

Washington, March 22, 2021, March 22, 2021
Madam Speaker:

I rise today to express appreciation to my House colleagues who voted for my amendment to our recently passed Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA) to ensure the full inclusion of American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians in key parts of VAWA. 

My amendment requires key data for full implementation of VAWA about our nation’s indigenous peoples that has previously been unavailable, especially relating to Native Hawaiians. To develop this data, the federal government will conduct a review of law enforcement and other crime prevention programs dealing with child sexual exploitation, child abuse, intimate partner violence, human trafficking, missing or murdered individuals and substance abuse. The review will result in recommendations directly affecting the social, educational, economic and other factors contributing to Native Hawaiians becoming missing or murdered. 

My amendment also calls for two additional reviews. The first one will examine programs that affect Native Hawaiians who are victims of criminal offenses. The second report will examine Native Hawaiians in the criminal justice system. This second report will also produce recommendations related to the social, educational, economic and other factors contributing to Native Hawaiians becoming involved in the criminal justice system. 

The need for these reports and data is critical. While data is available for individuals of Native American and Alaska Native descent, it does not exist for Native Hawaiians who suffer from high incidences of violence. This new data will guide future legislation and identify key areas in which additional assistance and resources are needed. Organizations that are centered around helping the Native Hawaiian community will benefit as well through availability of accurate data to direct their resources better. 

Mahalo nui loa (thank you very much) for your support for my amendment and for the inclusion of American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian groups within VAWA.