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The first national domestic-violence hotline serving just tribal communities began taking calls last week.

The safe and confidential resource is available for Native American survivors of domestic violence and dating violence, who make up more than 84 percent of the entire U.S. Native population, according to a news release from the StrongHearts Native Helpline.

Native survivors in Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma — the helpline’s initial service areas — will be able to connect at no cost, one-on-one, with knowledgeable StrongHearts advocates who will provide support, assist with safety planning and connect them with resources based on their specific tribal affiliation, community location and culture, the release said.

Callers in other states can still call StrongHearts while the hotline continues to grow. All services available through the helpline are available by dialing 1-844-7NATIVE (1-844-762-8483) Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Callers after hours will have the option to connect with the National Domestic Violence Hotline or to call back the next business day.

“The reality is that so many of our American Indian and Alaska Native people experience domestic violence and dating violence every day,” Lucy Rain Simpson, executive director of NIWRC and a citizen of the Navajo Nation, said in the release. “It has never been more evident that our Native people need a Native helpline to support efforts to restore power and safety in our tribal communities. The StrongHearts Native Helpline is ready to answer that call.”

Advocates at the StrongHearts Native Helpline are trained to navigate each caller’s abuse situation, with a strong understanding of Native cultures, as well as issues of tribal sovereignty and law, in a safe and accepting environment, free of assumption and judgment, the release said.

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