American Indian and Alaska Native women suffer some of the highest rates of violence and murder in the United States, a crisis that has diminished the honored status of women and safety in tribal communities. In spite of the high rates of violence experienced by AI/AN persons, only a small percentage reached out for assistance to The Hotline at the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
In 2012, The Hotline began discussing this issue with staff from the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC) a Native-led nonprofit organization dedicated to ending violence against Native women and children. Together, they developed a program concept for a Native hotline developed by and run by Native advocates to support tribal communities across the United States. With input from tribal leaders, a Native women’s council, domestic violence experts, and the Family Violence Prevention and Services Program, the two organizations began laying the groundwork to develop a Native-centered hotline staffed by advocates with a strong understanding of Native cultures, as well as issues of tribal sovereignty and law.
By combining the technology and infrastructure of The Hotline with NIWRC’s expertise and community connections, as well as the trust of Native advocacy groups, their vision became a reality with the creation of the StrongHearts Native Helpline (StrongHearts) when it launched on March 6, 2017 in Minneapolis, MN which was made possible with support from the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Family and Youth Services Bureau, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Verizon.
In March 2017, StrongHearts Native Helpline was launched in Minneapolis, MN. In August 2021, StrongHearts Native Helpline opened an administrative office in Michigan to expand victims advocacy services to Native Americans in that state. On October 1, 2021, StrongHearts became an independent nonprofit organization when they separated from parent organizations: NIWRC and The Hotline.
Today, StrongHearts has become a lifeline to Native American and Alaska Natives impacted by domestic and sexual violence by offering a culturally-appropriate, anonymous and confidential service available 24/7 nationwide. By calling or texting 1-844-7NATIVE (762-8483), or chatting online at strongheartshelpline.org: survivors, family, friends and partners questioning their own behavior can connect with StrongHearts advocates who provide support and advocacy including:
- Crisis intervention.
- Assistance with safety planning.
- Domestic violence education and information.
- Referrals to Native-centered domestic violence and sexual violence service providers.
- Basic information about health options.
- Support finding a local health facility or crisis center trained in the care of sexual assault survivors and forensic exams.
- General information about jurisdiction and legal advocacy referrals.
Please browse our website for more information.