What is Special Domestic Violence Criminal Jurisdiction (SDVCJ)?
Update: On March 15, 2022, President Biden signed the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization bill (VAWA 2022), which included significant amendments to 25 U.S.C. 1304. This page was developed prior to passage of VAWA 2022 and has not yet been updated to reflect the most recent changes.
The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA 2013), included a provision that affirmed the inherent sovereign authority of Indian tribal governments to exercise criminal jurisdiction over certain non-Indians who violate qualifying protection orders or commit domestic or dating violence against Indian victims on tribal lands. This provision in VAWA 2013 created a framework for tribal courts to prosecute non-Indians again—something that had not happened in 35 years, since the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Oliphant v. Suquamish Tribe, which removed tribal authority to prosecute non-Indians. This provision is known as Special Domestic Violence Criminal Jurisdiction (SDVCJ).
Download the 2 Page Overview of VAWA SDVCJ & Resource Guide
(Updated June 2019)