by Christine Trudeau
A Native America domestic abuse helpline is offering a new way for survivors to reach out during the pandemic. StrongHearts Native Helpline launched a new online chat function to better assist Native American and Alaska Native people experiencing abuse.
As Covid-19 safety restrictions amped up across the country in March, StrongHearts initially saw a dip in their calls. Director Lori Jump says that may be due to survivors sheltering in place at home with an abusive partner, making it all the more difficult to make a phone call when help is needed.
“It’s much easier to send a chat message because it’s a silent form of communication,” Jump said. “So, you’re not having to worry about someone overhearing you on the phone.”
The chat function is now on their website along with the other ways to reach out. Survivors can talk to support advocates who have educational resources and referrals to local programs for ongoing support and safety planning. Jump says the expansion to online chat is the realization of a much-needed long-term goal.
“Talk to people about how they can stay safe, especially during this time of pandemic,” Jump said. “When we are sheltering in place, and we are facing so much more stress and uncertainty, and while we know those things don’t cause domestic violence, it does exacerbate the situation which allows for an increase in violence to occur.
StrongHears live chat is available daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Central Time. Phone services are available daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Central Time.
This story is a collaboration with National Native News and the Solutions Journalism Network