Hotline for Native Americans facing abuse now available in New Mexico

In this Feb. 17, 2016, file photo an iPhone is seen in Washington. A new lawsuit claims the government’s practice of searching laptops and cellphones at airports and border crossings is unconstitutional because modern electronic devices carry troves of private information. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – A first-of-its-kind hotline has been launched for tribal members living in New Mexico.

The goal of StrongHearts Native Helpline is to fill the gap in services for victims of domestic violence to help lower the rates of abuse.

Fifty-six percent – that’s how many Native American women reportedly experience physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

“They have so much information and a really good database system that is very much needed,” said Cheyenne Antonio with the Red Nation, an activist group.

StrongHearts provides immediate over-the-phone assistance to tribal members experiencing domestic violence or sexual abuse.

With Native Americans accounting for 10 percent of New Mexico’s population, the hope is for major change here and nationwide.

The advocates are said to have a strong understanding of native culture and tribal sovereignty.

Albuquerque local Deleana Otherbull is the executive director of the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women and she is helping to spread the word of the hotline.

“The advocates are very knowledgeable about jurisdiction issues. They’re also able to help victims of domestic violence walk through the steps in safety planning,” said Otherbull.

Both Otherbull and Antonio are hoping this hotline can change the negative statistics.

“Sometimes, victims have a hard time channeling resources because maybe they live in a small community. This kind of takes the stigma off of that,” said Otherbull.

The StrongHearts helpline operates 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. After hours, the hotline will transfer callers to the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

Their number is 1-844-762-8483