On March 7, 2013 President Obama signed into place the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA). This act recognizes the tribes' inherent power to exercise "special domestic criminal jurisdiction" over certain defendants, regardless of their Indian or non-Indian status, who commit acts of domestic violence or violate certain protection orders in Indian Country.
A Justice Department survey showed that rapes and sexual assault rates involving women have plateaued while violent crime rates overall have declined. Women's advocacy groups called the report proof that the Violence Against Women Act and heightened awareness of the problem by police has had a positive effect. Although the Violence Against Women Act has been credited with helping reduce domestic violence incidents by two-thirds since its inception, advocates were careful not to suggest that the problem has become any less urgent.
What this means for Nisqually Tribe is now Nisqually Police officers are able to exercise sovereign power to investigate, prosecute, convict and both sentence Indians and non-Indians who assault Indian spouses or dating partners.