Fulfilling a Need: More Than 3,200 Calls Received by the StrongHearts Native Helpline

In March 2019, the StrongHearts Native Helpline increased its operating hours, where advocates are now available seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Central time. The announcement coincided with an open house in Eagan, Minnesota, to mark the helpline’s second anniversary and new office headquarters.

With more than 3,200 calls now reported, the StrongHearts Native Helpline (1-844-7NATIVE), an anonymous and confidential domestic violence and dating violence helpline for Native Americans, is fulfilling its purpose serving as the first culturally-appropriate, national helpline for Indian country. Based on recent information gathered from randomly selected caller stories, at least 80 percent of Native American callers facing intimate partner violence (IPV) preferred to be connected with a Tribal-based or culturally-appropriate direct service provider rather than with their non-Native counterparts.

“One of the first questions that many of our callers ask is whether our advocates are Native, and when they hear that the answer is yes, it opens the floodgates,” said Lori Jump (Sault Ste. Marie Chippewa), Assistant Director of the StrongHearts Native Helpline, the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center’s collaborative project with the National Domestic Violence Hotline. “We hear how thankful they are not to have to explain who they are and how being Native impacts their victimization and survivorship.”

StrongHearts advocates offer callers culturally-appropriate support, crisis intervention, assistance with safety planning and a connection to Tribal resources as they navigate the difficult barriers to justice and safety. The helpline is available daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. CST. Callers reaching out after hours can access the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-SAFE) by selecting option 1. This spring, StrongHearts increased its available hours to better serve victim-survivors of IPV, concerned family members and friends, ‘helper’ programs seeking assistance for clients or patients, as well as people questioning their own abusive behavior. Advocates assist anyone who calls the helpline, which is available free of charge.