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First-Ever Abuse Hotline Open for New Mexico Native Americans

A 2015 report lists New Mexico as third in the nation in cases of men killing women in domestic-violence cases. (Pixabay)
A 2015 report lists New Mexico as third in the nation in cases of men killing women in domestic-violence cases. (Pixabay)
September 14, 2017

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- For the first time, Native Americans living in New Mexico can call a free crisis hotline to report domestic abuse.

Compared with other groups in the U.S., Native Americans are twice as likely to experience rape or sexual assault. At the same time, they historically have lacked access to services.

Associate director of the StrongHearts Native Helpline, Lori Jump, said advocates answering the phones are trained in tribal sovereignty and law, because reporting such a crime is a different experience for Native Americans.

"Jurisdiction is a huge issue: who a victim is, who the perpetrator is, whether or not they're Native, whether or not the crime occurred on tribal lands,” Jump said. “And so it's very complex."

The hotline number is 1-844-7NATIVE, or 1-844-762-8483. After hours, callers to the StrongHearts Native Hotline will have the option to connect with the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

According to Jump, Native Americans are 2.5 times more likely to experience violent crimes, and five times more likely to be victims of homicide than members of other racial groups in the country.

"Certainly with respect to domestic violence, sexual violence, homicide - those are all much higher than the general population,” she said. “So with rates like that, we want to be sure to have some place that victims are able to call for assistance."

There are 22 tribal communities in New Mexico, and American Indians account for more than 10 percent of the population.

A 2015 report from the Violence Policy Center lists New Mexico as third in the nation in cases of men killing women in domestic violence incidents, behind only Alaska and South Carolina.

Roz Brown, Public News Service - NM