New Federal Law Addresses Sexual Assault In Tribal Areas

New Mexico – Federal and tribal officials are looking to a new law to bolster safety for American Indians.

About 150 judges, tribal leaders and law enforcement officials are meeting Wednesday in Albuquerque as part of a national symposium on implementing the Tribal Law and Order Act, signed by President Obama in July.

The law requires police officers serving Indian Country be trained in interviewing victims of sexual assault and collecting evidence at crime scenes. It also requires the Indian Health Service to establish a nationwide protocol for helping victims of sexual assault.

Federal data shows that one in three Indian women will be raped in their lifetimes.

Officials describe the statistics as "disturbing." They say the act will be the first step toward changing things for Indian women.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.