Crime and victimization among American indians: Onecommunitrs perception of crime, violence, and social services

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American Indians frequently experience high rates of crime and victimization, as well as poverty, substance abuse, and limited availability and poor quality of victim and social services. Their interactions with the criminal justice system are made difficult by the location, environmental surroundings, size and density of their reservations, the complexities of their cultures, and a long history of experience with social injustices. These conditions also impede research about American Indian communities and their members' understandings of crime. This study uses focus group methodology to explore how violence and the crime and victim services available to American Indians are perceived among members in one American Indian community.

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Family and partner interpersonal violence are common among American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) populations. AI/AN women have the second highest prevalence of violence against women among all racial/ethnic groups in the United States, and child abuse prevalence rates in AI/AN populations are among the highest. Elder abuse in AI/AN is also an important concern, although data on this are sparse. This review describes the epidemiology of child abuse, violence against women, and elder abuse among AI/AN, including prevalence and associated risk factors. The authors discuss potential reasons for the high burden of interpersonal violence among AI/AN, including common risk factors. Important limitations in existing literature are also highlighted, along with recommendations for future research on this topic. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/2197-1714-1-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.