Photo courtesy StrongHearts Native Helpline

StrongHearts Native Helpline: Stacking up the numbers

Answering the call to action, StrongHearts Native Helpline has become a trusted resource for Native Americans impacted by domestic violence. In just over three years, hours of operation have been extended, call volume increased, chat advocacy was launched and the numbers are stacking up.

Hitting the mark and reaching every milestone with determination and dedication, StrongHearts has received 8,569 calls and chats to date. Of those calls, 5,173 were received in 2019 alone. Marking a gargantuan 555% increase from the year before!

How StrongHearts Helps
In 2019, StrongHearts advocates assisted callers by providing peer-to-peer support, safety planning, crisis intervention, referrals to Native resources and education on healthy relationships.

Native intimate partner violence (IPV) victims reported the following needs to StrongHearts Advocates:

• 47% of callers need Peer Support • 42% of callers need Shelter • 27% of callers need Legal Advocacy • 19% of callers need Transportation Options • 18% of callers need Emergency Financial Aid

StrongHearts Native Helpline “by Natives for Natives” methodology is resonating among Native Americans and the increased number of callers in 2019 suggests that StrongHearts is a positive force in Indian Country.

“Thanks for reminding me I am a strong woman because I forgot,” said one caller who reclaimed a sense of power. “I feel like you’re reading my mind. I’ve never had anyone explain this to me in this way,” said another when StrongHearts advocates helped her put things into perspective.

Breaking Down the Numbers
In a breakdown of 2019 callers: 47 percent of callers identified as victim-survivors while 9 percent as “helpers,” a family or friend who called on their behalf. Of those callers, IPV victim-survivors reported experiencing:

• 90% of callers reported Emotional Abuse • 75% of callers reported Physical Abuse • 30% of callers reported Financial Abuse • 18% of callers reported Digital Abuse • 14% of callers reported Sexual Abuse

And Native IPV victim-survivors reported:

• 56% experience abuse at the hands of a non-Native partner • 40% disclosed children were involved in their abusive situation • 14% reported being stalked • 13% had been strangled • 7% experienced cultural abuse • 5% reported their abusers have access to a firearm

Every month, an average of 52 women are shot and killed by an intimate partner. Nearly one million women alive today have reported being shot or shot at by intimate partners, and 4.5 million women have reported being threatened with a gun. To say that these are alarming statistics is an understatement.

Native Agencies Restore Trust
The need for StrongHearts advocates was identified by the National Domestic Violence Hotline (The Hotline) and the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC). They noticed that despite the huge number of Native Americans who reported domestic and dating violence few were reaching out for help. This is not a coincidence.

There is an inherent lack of trust between non-Native agencies and Native people. Native callers prefer to speak with Native advocates. StrongHearts callers underscore this, in 2019 only five callers chose to transfer to The Hotline rather than wait for a StrongHearts Native advocate during business hours.


For a Native-centered, empowerment-based approach that is culturally appropriate for Native Americans impacted by domestic and dating violence, click on the Chat Now icon on this page or call 1-844-7NATIVE (1-844-762-8483) daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. CT. As a collaborative effort of the National Domestic Violence Hotline (The Hotline) and the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, after-hour callers can connect with The Hotline by choosing option one.

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