Sexual assault helpline for Native American communities launched in Utah

Apr 8, 2024, 6:39 PM

Yolanda Francisco with restoring ancestral winds speaks about the new helpline aimed at helping nat...

Yolanda Francisco, Executive Director of Restoring Ancestral Winds Inc., speaks during a press conference held by Restoring Ancestral Winds Inc. announcing a statewide helpline aimed to assist Indigenous communities at the Utah Department of Public Safety in Taylorsville, on April 8, 2024. (Marielle Scott/Deseret News)

(Marielle Scott/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah nonprofit just launched a brand new sexual assault and domestic violence helpline that provides resources to Utah’s Native American communities. Further, the group Restoring Ancestral Winds said its helpline would provide culturally sensitive staff to help those in need.

And the need is great. According to Restoring Ancestral Winds, Native Americans experience three and a half times higher rates of violence than any other group.

Domestic violence resources

Help for people in abusive relationships can be found by contacting:

Restoring Ancestral Winds met in Taylorsville on Monday to announce the new sexual assault and domestic violence helpline. It is making its debut just as Sexual Assault Awareness Month begins.

“American Indian female victims are more likely to need services but they are less likely to have access to those services,” said Yolanda Francisco with Restoring Ancestral Winds.

Rep. Angela Romero, D-Salt Lake City, attended the announcement and echoed those goals. She said she hopes the new resource will be the first step toward providing more of the services needed by Utah’s Indigenous communities.

Related: Salt Lake County observes Sexual Assault Awareness month

Romero also spoke about the lack of trust between victims and the authorities. She said there are long-standing trust issues between the community and the state.

“And because of that lack of trust, people aren’t reporting. Or if they do report, they don’t feel like they’ll be believed,” Romero said.

The helpline, Francisco said, is a beginning. It’s a starting point from which to build trust between the Native communities of Utah and the state.

“To help us achieve that healing and harmony among our Indigenous sisters and brothers who have been impacted severely since the beginning of this country,” Francisco said.

The nonprofit staffs the helpline with trained professionals who understand the cultural sensitivities and needs of Utah’s Native communities.

The number is 8-3-3 NTV HEAL.


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Sexual assault helpline for Native American communities launched in Utah