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Alternative resources to call in Bloomington instead of police



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New Wings on South Washington Street is Middle Way House's emergency shelter for assault victims. IDS file photo

In the aftermath of several cases involving police-incited violence against Black Americans such as Danial Prude and Rayshard Brooks, Black Lives Matter B-Town responded by encouraging others to rethink their calls to the police. Prude and Brooks were both killed following calls to police for assistance.

Black Lives Matter B-Town

Black Lives Matter B-Town’s “Make the Right Call” initiative began in response to “an epidemic of harassment taking the form of unwarranted phone calls to the police concerning black people innocently occupying public spaces,” according to the project’s website. The initiative asks others to consider if they are putting others at risk before they make a call to the police. They hope to see an expansion to mental health services that could be called in the future through a 311 service similar to 911 emergency services.

The group listed common scenarios people contact the police for including reporting broken brake lights, physical altercations at a party or situations where the caller is uncomfortable but not in danger. BLM B-town proposes that the police do not need to be involved in these situations, but rather mental health or social work professionals.

Middle Way House

The Middle Way House provides both a 24-hour crisis line and emergency housing for those in need. People can be assisted at any time by calling 812- 336-0846. Middle Way House focuses on victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking. 

Lindsey Stout, a crisis intervention services coordinator assistant, said Middle Way can be a resource to anyone with safety concerns in the community, even if they are not directly connected to the issues Middle Way specializes in.

“We often talk to people who witness dangerous situations,” Stout said. “They’re just wondering how best to respond and how to help that person.”

Middle Way also provides an on-scene advocacy program for those who have experienced assault and are in a state of acute trauma. 

Stout said Middle Way cannot send an on-scene advocate in every situation, but they are always available to refer callers to other resources. 

Some students such as IU junior Eashita Singh, have a hesitancy to call the police because they do not want to misuse the resource. This is where the crisis line can help.

“I’ve never been in a situation where I’ve had to call the police,” Singh said. “I just feel like if the situation doesn’t need to be escalated to that point, there’s really no point in calling them.”

Middle Way's advocacy line can be contacted through 812- 333-7404. Advocates can assist those with legal questions regarding a range of topics from stalking to child abuse. Inquiries regarding transitional housing for families can be made at 812- 337-4510. 

Counseling and Psychological Services

IU’s Counseling and Psychological Services also provides a 24/7 crisis line to students at 812- 855-5711. Selecting option one on the number pad directs students to immediate assistance. Students can also schedule a virtual appointment on their own through the same number. This service is only currently available to students living in Indiana or Illinois due to licensing issues.

A sexual assault crisis line can be contacted through 812-855-8900.

CARE Referral

If a student is not in immediate danger, they can submit an IU CARE referral if they are concerned for the well-being of another student or themselves. CARE referrals can be made here.

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