(EAGAN, Minn., Feb. 5, 2021) –StrongHearts Native Helpline (1-844-7NATIVE) announced today it will soon expand operations by offering advocacy services 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. The expanded service launches on February 19 and coincides with the additional expansion of text advocacy.
StrongHearts Native Helpline is a culturally-appropriate, anonymous, confidential and free service dedicated to serving Native survivors, concerned family members and friends affected by domestic, dating and sexual violence. StrongHearts Native Helpline is a project of the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center and the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
“Our goal is to make caring support available to as many Native American and Alaska Natives as possible,” said StrongHearts Director Lori Jump (Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians). “Victim-survivors need to be able to reach out when it’s safe for them, around-the-clock, through a variety of means.”
According to the National Institute of Justice and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Partner Survey, Native Americans and Alaska Natives experience some of the highest rates of domestic and sexual violence in the United States. The study found that more than four in five American Indian and Alaska Native women had experienced violence in their lifetime, and one in three had experienced violence within the past year. The study also examined how this violence affects tribal communities and Native survivors. For American Indian and Alaska Native people, the study found about half of women and nearly one in five men stated they needed victim services. With few options and supportive resources, Native American victims of abuse often go without assistance.
To address these inequities and better serve Native Americans and Alaska Natives, StrongHearts has been rapidly expanding. In 2020, StrongHearts launched online chat advocacy and sexual violence advocacy.
As the pandemic continues and victim-survivors in abusive relationships are forced to shelter-in-place with their abusive partners it becomes even more vital to offer multiple communication options so victims can decide what is a safe and appropriate option for them.
As American Indian and Alaska Native communities continue to navigate the isolating effects of COVID-19, 24/7 expanded operations and text advocacy will allow those experiencing domestic and sexual violence to connect with a highly-trained advocate whenever they need free, anonymous and confidential support.
Like online chat advocacy, text advocacy increases accessibility for individuals who may be hearing impaired and those who may be uncomfortable or unable to vocalize a call for support.
“We are eager to expand our services to reach every Native victim-survivor who needs it,” Jump said. “StrongHearts will continue our work until all of our relatives have the resources they need and are safe from violence.”
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ABOUT STRONGHEARTS NATIVE HELPLINE
StrongHearts Native Helpline is a culturally-appropriate domestic, dating and sexual violence helpline for Native Americans, available by calling 1-844-762-8483 or clicking on the Chat Now icon on strongheartshelpline.org. StrongHearts Native Helpline is a collaborative effort of the National Domestic Violence Hotline and the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center.