(EAGAN, Minn., April 5, 2021) –StrongHearts Native Helpline (1-844-7NATIVE) has expanded operations and is now offering text advocacy. The expanded service launched on Friday, April 2. Text advocacy can be reached by using StrongHearts Native Helpline’s number: 1-844-762-8483.
StrongHearts Native Helpline is a culturally-appropriate, anonymous, confidential and free service dedicated to serving Native victim-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.
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. 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 victim-survivors can decide what is a safe and appropriate option for them.
“We are eager to expand our services to reach every Native victim-survivor who needs it,” said StrongHearts Director Lori Jump (Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians). “StrongHearts will continue our work until all of our relatives have the resources they need and are safe from violence.”
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. In 2021, StrongHearts increased advocacy services to 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.
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.