Introduction to Code Development

Code development is the first step for the majority of tribes planning to implement the special domestic violence criminal jurisdiction provisions of VAWA 2013. Visit our Tribal Code Library to see how other tribes have revised their codes to implement SDVCJ.

The statutory requirements of VAWA 2013 ensure that all tribes implementing SDVCJ provide a uniform set of protections to SDVCJ defendants. However, VAWA 2013 was drafted to ensure that implementing tribes would also have some flexibility and freedom to determine how best to implement the statute. The implementing tribes have made use of VAWA 2013’s flexibility and chosen to comply with the requirements of SDVCJ in ways that best fit each of their communities. 

The ability of tribes to decide for themselves how to implement VAWA 2013 in a manner that is best for their community has resulted in a great deal of creativity, increased community buy-in, and more sustainable court systems that are a better match for the priorities, history, culture, and values of their communities. The implementing tribes have served as laboratories of justice, testing different solutions and then reflecting on their success or failure. Good practices, once discovered, are adopted by other tribes that believe a practice would also be a good match for their community. The ITWG is a vital hub for exchanging this information, and representatives from the implementing tribes are eager to speak with and learn from each other.