Legislation sponsored by Rep. Gina McCabe, R-Goldendale, to help identify missing Native American women has been signed into law.
House Bill 2951 would require the Washington State Patrol (WSP) to work with tribal law enforcement, federally recognized tribes, Urban Indian organizations, and the Governor’s Office of Indian Affairs to conduct a study to increase state resources for reporting and identifying missing Native American women throughout Washington state.
“There’s currently no comprehensive data collection system for reporting or tracking missing Native American women,” said Rep. McCabe. “That’s a travesty, and I know Washington can do better. The bill will give Washington State Patrol, tribal law enforcement, and others, the ability to work on solutions together to best address this problem.”
A recent report from the National Institute of Justice found that more than four out of five Native American women have experienced violence in their lives. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control noted in 2016 that homicide is the third leading cause of death among Native American women between the ages of 10 and 24. The Department of Justice has also reported Native American women are 10 times more likely to be murdered than other Americans.
The bill will go into effect later this year. The 2018 legislative session adjourned March 8.