The story of the StrongHearts Native Helpline began in 2012 when the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC) and the National Domestic Violence Hotline (The Hotline) began discussing the need for a domestic violence hotline 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 American Indian cultures, as well as issues of tribal sovereignty and law.
Their vision became a reality with the creation of the StrongHearts Native Helpline (StrongHearts) in March 2017, made possible by support from the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Family and Youth Services Bureau, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Verizon. StrongHearts is a culturally-appropriate, anonymous, confidential service dedicated to serving Native American survivors of domestic violence and concerned family members and friends. By dialing 1-844-7NATIVE (1-844-762-8483) Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. CST, callers can connect at no cost one-on-one with knowledgeable StrongHearts advocates who can provide lifesaving tools and immediate support to enable survivors to find safety and live lives free of abuse.
StrongHearts is a partnered effort, combining the technology and infrastructure of The Hotline with NIWRC’s expertise and community connections, as well as the trust of Native advocacy groups.
National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center: The National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, Inc. (NIWRC) is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to restoring the sovereignty of Native nations and safeguarding Native women and their children. The NIWRC supports culturally grounded, grassroots advocacy and provides national leadership to ending gender-based violence in indigenous communities through the development of educational materials and programs, direct technical assistance and the development of local and national policy that builds the capacity of Indigenous communities and strengthens the exercise of tribal sovereignty.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline: The National Domestic Violence Hotline is a nonprofit organization established in 1996 as a component of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Operating around the clock, seven days a week, confidential and free of cost, the National Domestic Violence Hotline provides lifesaving tools and immediate support to enable victims to find safety and live lives free of abuse. Callers to The Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) can expect highly trained, experienced advocates to offer compassionate support, crisis intervention information and referral services in more than 170 languages.
The Family Youth Prevention and Services Program (FVPSA): The Family Violence Prevention and Youth Services Act was signed into law as part of the Child Abuse Amendments of 1984. For over 30 years, FVPSA has served as the primary federal funding stream dedicated to the support of emergency shelter and supportive services for victims of domestic violence and their dependents. It has also provided support in the form of an annual grant to the National Domestic Violence Hotline since 1996, most recently with an earmark in the FY2016 Enacted Appropriations Bill, a portion of which was specifically for developing a tribal hotline. FVPSA is located in the Family Youth Services Bureau (FYSB), a division of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families in the Administration for Children and Families.