Missing and murdered Indian women in Montana
Cleavenger, Joyce Mabel
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Problem. Violence against women is more widespread and severe among American Indian women than among other North American women. Statistics reveal that American Indian and Alaska Native women experience ten times the murder rate of the national average and the highest lifetime rape (27.5%) prevalence in relation to all other ethnicities (14-21%). It is further estimated that three in five AI/AN women will be victims of domestic violence. There is a reason to believe that AI/AN women who are missing may be victims of human trafficking. Evidence suggests that chronic poverty, rape, homelessness, childhood abuse, and racism all play a part in human trafficking. Purpose. Nurse practitioners are a critical workforce in screening and early intervention for AI/AN women as these high-risk women often live in rural and isolated places where the safety net of police, social workers, support groups and safe houses are limited. The purpose of this project was to 1) explore nurse practitioners' knowledge and perceived educational needs related to Montana murdered and missing Indian women, and 2) provide appropriate follow up education with participants based on the findings. Methods. A convenience sample of ten Cascade County nurse practitioners with AI/AN women in their client panel participated in a semi-structured interview. A descriptive analysis of the transcribed interviews revealed gaps in what this sample of primary care providers knew about interventions for AI/AN women at risk for or who have experienced violence. Conclusions. The study produced updated recommendations on screening and referrals for Cascade County nurse practitioners.to use with clients. The results also suggest a need for the State Board of Nursing to offer continuing education on Montana's missing and murdered Indian women. It was also suggested the importance of sharing information on missing and murdered Indian women at one of the nurse practitioners' conferences.