Circles of Strength: Healing for Victims of Violence

Did you know that American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) experience domestic violence at higher rates than other groups?

Those victims of domestic violence or sexual assault don’t stand out in a crowd. You may have just talked to that person, you may have met them in a waiting room, or that person could be you.

Be it physical, verbal, emotional, or sexual assault/abuse remember: You are not alone. The Gerald L. Ignace Indian Health Center’s (GLIIHC) Circles of Strength Program (COS) is here to help you.

COS, as part of a national effort to prevent and treat domestic violence and sexual assault in AI/NA communities, is funded by the Indian Health Service Domestic Violence Prevention Initiative (DVPI).The DVPI funds 94 Federal, Tribal, and Urban Indian Health Centers’ violence prevention and intervention programs across Indian Country.

GLIIHC’s Behavioral Health Department Deputy Director Deborah Black, who is also a Licensed Professional Counselor, stresses the care and healing programs offered through our COS:

“We utilize a culturally-responsive and trauma-informed approach for the prevention and treatment of domestic violence and sexual assault. The program’s name was born out of the way we approach healing, by utilizing a holistic approach and by the range of GLIIHC services that encircle a survivor of violence once they have walked through our doors.

“If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse, or if you are unsure if you are experiencing any form of abuse or mistreatment, please do not hesitate to reach out to us for help. We understand the difficult and scary situation you are in, and the many complicated and terrifying feelings that go along with being a victim of abuse.”

Deborah Black-Ignace

Deputy Director of Behavioral Health, Gerald L. Ignace Indian Health Center

Black urges victims of abuse or assault to immediately go to GLIIHC’s Medical Clinic, where a COS Team member will be called to assist you every step of the way. Adamant about providing the necessary care, Black insisted, “You can also call my confidential phoneline at (414) 316-5046.”

There are many forms of abuse and many warning signs. The National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center’s Stronghearts Native Helpline website provides a wealth of information:


Please note: if you are in immediate danger, call 911.

Article by Anne Egan-Waukau, Media/Public Relations Consultant