Director Comey Discusses Victim Assistance at Indian Nations Conference
FBI Director James B. Comey delivered remarks about the Bureau's role in victim assistance at the 14th National Indian Nations Conference December 11, 2014 in California.
FBI Director James Comey
Maybe the most important thing that happened to me, that motivated me to be here today, was I have five children. My two youngest daughters last summer went on a church mission trip to a reservation in the Upper Midwest. And they came back with their eyes wide open and talking constantly about the challenges on the reservation and saying, “Dad, you’ve got to do something. You’ve got to do more. There are really good people who need your help. You’ve got to do more. You’ve got to do more.”
And so I promised them that I would get smarter and get better as FBI Director at responding to the needs of our fellow citizens crying out for help on Native lands. And so I have spent a lot of time trying to learn what you need from us, what we’re doing well, what we’re not doing so well. And especially to focus on where the FBI can make a difference. So many of the challenges and problems that my daughters continue to talk about are beyond the reach of the FBI. But when it comes to horrific violence, to homicide, to domestic violence, to abuse—especially of children—that’s something the FBI can contribute to.
So I have eight years and two months left in my term. Let me make a promise to you that I made to my daughters and that I repeated to them last night when I told them I was coming: this will be a priority of the FBI under my stewardship. And we will get better.
All of you are here today because you care deeply about victims’ rights. You care deeply about victims’ issues. I told two of my colleagues from our Office for Victim Assistance in the alcove outside that I believe they are the true heroes of the FBI.
Our victim specialists provide information on victims’ rights, they provide a guideway through the criminal justice system, they provide on-scene crisis intervention, they provide expertise to help agents—in a sensitive, effective way—interview and deal with victims. And then they walk through with folks through the often cold, dark, scary time of court proceedings.
They recognize and respect that victims want to engage in cultural and spiritual traditions that help victims recover from terrible crimes.
One of our special agents who works in Native American communities has described the impact of the work this way: “The crimes we investigate touch people’s day-to-day lives in a very real way--the murder of a friend, kids getting molested by their uncle. That’s why we’re here. To give victims a voice and to remind them that justice for all applies equally to everyone in America.”
That is the essence of our job in the FBI. To ensure that justice is done for everyone in America—every man, woman, or child living in any part of this great land, including American Indian and Native Alaskan communities.
It’s challenging work for the reasons I said. We have perceptions to overcome; we have reality to overcome. But I tell you our commitment is unshakable because this is why we do this work.
Thank you for choosing to make those kind of lives to the people that you rescue, that you save, that you protect, that you guide, that you restore.
Thank you for helping us get better at doing this work with you. Thank you for the partnership. Thank you for the work with moral content.
We are honored to be with you. We look forward to many years working together. And I am honored to have a chance just to stand in the glow of people who have chosen to do that with their lives. Thanks for inviting me today.
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