HOGANSBURG — A program that aims to break the cycle of domestic violence and sexual assault in Akwesasne has been awarded a $155,034 grant by the state Office of Victim Services, according to a St. Regis Mohawk Tribe press release.
The grant, announced by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo at the end of July, will cover the salary of a domestic violence advocate for three years through the tribe’s Three Sisters Program.
The program provides advocacy, supervised visitation, exchanges and safe home access at all times.
“Our hope is to someday break the cycle of abuse by providing education and empowering women and men to take control of their own healing,” said program Manager Kaniehtawaks Francis. “Our program has a staff of 11 highly qualified professionals providing strong, supportive and immediate services.
“We are very appreciative to be a recipient of this direct services grant award, and to be able to hire an additional Domestic Violence Advocate for the next three years,” she continued.
Three Sisters cared for more than 170 clients in 2013. The 24/7 operation budget is funded through tribal gaming funds (30 percent) and grants (70 percent).
Sixty-one percent of American Indian and Alaska Native women (or three out of five) have been assaulted in their lifetime; this statistic shows the overwhelming need for domestic violence services for Native American victims in native communities, the release states.
“Through each person’s journey of healing, we as individuals gain wisdom. This wisdom will be the foundation for the nurturing of the next generation. Teaching our children that violence is never acceptable is the key to guiding healthy relationships in the future,” Francis said.