Help for Native American survivors of domestic and dating violence is just a phone call away thanks to a newly launched Native-centered helpline.
Officially established in January, the Austin-based StrongHearts Native Helpline has actually been in the works since 2012 after the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center and the National Domestic Violence Hotline saw the need.
“American Indian women residing on Indian reservations suffer domestic violence and physical assault at rates far exceeding women of other ethnicities. A 2004 Department of Justice report estimates these assault rates to be as much as 50% higher than the next most victimized demographic,” according to a Futures Without Violence fact sheet.
This violence is not limited to just verbal abuse either. In fact, the report also stated “Native American and Alaskan Native women are more than 2.5 times more likely to be raped or sexually assaulted than women in the USA in general.”
The figures are staggering and show just how vital Native-centered resources for survivors of domestic and dating violence are. Flash forward five years and the helpline officially opened its lines for the first time on March 6 in Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma, three states with the largest Native American populations.
Offered at no cost to callers, the helpline is completely confidential and is staffed by advocates knowledgeable in Native American, tribal sovereignty and tribal law issues.
If you or someone you know is a Native American survivor of domestic or dating violence, call 844-7NATIVE (844-762-8483). The helpline hours are from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. CST Monday through Friday.