Nebraska is one of three states where a new service is being rolled out to help Native Americans who are survivors of domestic violence and dating violence.
Lori Jump, assistant director of the StrongHearts Native Helpline, says it offers free, safe and culturally-appropriate support based on specific tribal affiliation, community location and culture.
“It’s really hard to say what our call volume will be,” Jump says. “This is a very new service for Indian country. Nothing like it exists in the country. One of the problems we’re going to have is getting the word out there.”
The helpline is based in Austin, Texas, working in correspondence with the National Domestic Violence Hotline. The service is now available in Nebraska, Oklahoma and Kansas and more states will be added as the database grows. The three states combined make up more than 12.5% of the country’s entire Native American population.
“We have social media where people can follow us, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and of course we have our website,” Jump says. “We’re also working closely with tribes in the area, making sure they have our contact information.”
The service was created by and for Native Americans. Jump, who’s a member of the Sault Saint Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, says this service has been desperately needed for many years and it’s finally become a reality.
“The statistics in Indian country are at an epidemic level,” Jump says. “It’s two times as likely as other races to experience sexual assault, two-and-a-half times more likely to experience violent crimes and five times more likely to be victims of homicide.”
A recent study found Native American survivors of domestic violence and dating violence make up more than 84% of the U.S. Native population. Even though four in five experience violence, she says Native Americans have historically lacked access to services.
The helpline number is 1-844-7NATIVE. It is available Monday through Friday, from 9 AM to 5:30 PM/Central. Callers after hours will have the option to connect with the National Domestic Violence Hotline.