The National Domestic Violence Hotline

The National Domestic Violence Hotline

The Hotline

Helpers: So You Want to Stage an Intervention… (Wednesday, June 27th 2018)

By Emily, a Hotline Advocate

Your son mentions he’s back with his partner, and you wonder whether he’s hiding fresh bruises under his clothes. Your co-worker decides to leave her husband, who makes her feels like she can’t do anything right, but the next day, she changes her mind – after all, he’s promised to change. Your best friend cancels your plans, over and over, and when you finally see them, they share that their boyfriend has been limiting their access to money.

Maybe you’ve had experiences like these, since in their lifetime, one in three women and one in four men have been physically abused by an intimate partner, with many of those also experiencing sexual violence. But abuse isn’t always physical – almost half of men and women experience emotionally abusive behavior from an intimate partner, and the vast majority of survivors experience economic abuse, too.

Statistics like these show us that relationship abuse is a startlingly common phenomenon, affecting people of all ages, races, nationalities, genders, sexualities, religions, and socioeconomic groups. It can definitely be overwhelming to consider the prevalence of intimate partner violence, and even harder to watch people you care about live through painful and even dangerous relationships. It is totally normal to feel helpless and to want do whatever you can to help that person be safe. One day, the idea may occur to you: an intervention! But how should you go about it? The answer is simpler than you might think: don’t.

What do you mean, intervening isn’t helpful?

One of the most challenging things in life is watching someone you care about be abused by someone who’s supposed to treat them with love and respect. If you find yourself in this role, it is natural to want to take initiative, involve law enforcement, present your loved one with ultimatums, or even forcibly remove them from the abusive situation. However, interventions such as these are typically not the best response for someone in an abusive relationship, as they are disempowering and may even put the survivor in greater danger.

Points to Consider

However inadvertently, interventions often communicate a few troubling things to a survivor: Let me tell you what’s good for you. I understand what you need better than you do. If you trusted me, you would listen and do what I say. What’s problematic about this is that these are similar to the kinds of things an abusive partner might be communicating, explicitly or implicitly, to the survivor. In other words, intervening communicates that you don’t see the survivor as autonomous, which can be incredibly disempowering. We know that when survivors feel supported, they are more likely to feel strong enough take steps to keep themselves safer. It’s also important to keep in mind that safety is not always black and white, and that interventions have a tendency to set up this false dichotomy for survivors, with no middle ground: they can either be safe outside the relationship, or in danger within it. This oversimplifies the process of leaving and overlooks major safety concerns:

  • Leaving an abuser is the most dangerous time in a relationship, as the abuse tends to escalate as the abuser feels their power and control slipping away.
  • Ending an abusive relationship does not usually mean the end of abuse. Emotionally abusive behaviors such as stalking and threats may even increase after a survivor leaves.
  • Leaving safely requires careful preparation and planning. Simply leaving an abusive situation without considering both immediate and long-term safety and emotional support needs can actually put a survivor in more danger.
  • Survivors know their situation best, and leaving may not be the safest or even most worthwhile choice for them. For example, abusers often threaten very real harm to family, friends, children, pets, property or even themselves if a survivor leaves. Many shelters cannot accommodate survivors’ adult dependents, stepchildren, teenage male children or pets, and a survivor may not be willing to leave their loved ones behind. There are countless other reasons a survivor may decide to stay with an abuser.
  • Unfortunately, CPS, APS, counselors, law enforcement and the justice system don’t always provide the protection or services necessary to meet a survivor’s needs. Shelters often do not have enough space for all of the survivors who are seeking safety, and many survivors rely on their abusers for financial stability. Leaving may not be a sustainable long-term option for a survivor.
  • Revisiting their situation again and again through criminal justice proceedings, custody hearings, regulatory agencies, employers, medical and mental health professionals, religious leaders, family, friends, or the media, can be incredibly traumatic for survivors.
  • Asking for help can be fatiguing and time consuming, as it involves contacting many sources and retelling stories in order to meet just one of many needs that must be addressed. This can be even harder for survivors who don’t have the technology, privacy, or transportation to safely seek support.
  • Abusers seek to isolate their partners from their support systems. Excessive pressure or criticism from family and friends can make survivors feel like they can’t turn to these loved ones when they do need support in the future, playing right into the abuser’s narrative.

Helpful Strategies

Even though an intervention isn’t an effective way to be supportive, there are ways that you can be there for the survivors you care about:

  • Understand the stages of change. 
    The healing process isn’t linear. While it’s understandable that you would want your loved one to make a dramatic change in their life overnight, remember, these kinds of decisions tend to happen over long periods of time.

    • In pre-contemplation, your loved one has not yet begun considering what change could look like. They may feel like something is wrong, but haven’t admitted the problem or thought seriously about change.
    • In contemplation, they consider what changes they could make to better prioritize their safety. Still, these steps are just a thought, and they are unlikely to make changes in the immediate future.
    • In preparation, a survivor, of their own accord, actively begins planning to better stay safe.
    • Action is the time period in which survivors make significant, life-affirming changes.
    • In maintenance, a survivor continues to adapt to changing circumstances in order to preserve a safe, supportive, and empowering environment.

It’s alright for a survivor to be in any one of these stages of change. Moving through them can take weeks, months, or even years, and people don’t always move through them in a consecutive order. Forcing or pressuring someone who is in pre-contemplation to start safety planning will likely be ineffective, as they have not yet admitted to themselves that they are experiencing abuse. It’s also important to remember that it takes survivors an average of seven attempts at leaving an abusive relationship before leaving for good. It can be challenging for anyone to realize that one of the people they care for most is also hurting them the most.

  • Be a friend. 

This might sound redundant, but it’s true! You cared about your loved one before they got into this relationship, and you can remind them that there’s more to their life than the abuse they’re experiencing. Remind them what healthy relationships look like. Ask if you can help with their self-care and emotional safety.  Sometimes it can be more helpful to talk about hobbies, work, children, other relationships, health and nutrition, media, and more – it reminds survivors of their identity outside of the relationship and can give them a break from the trauma they’re experiencing. Other times, it helps for survivors to tell their stories and re-tell them as a way to process their experiences. You can also think about going to them with a problem of your own to remind them that you trust and respect their judgment and perspective. Everyone is different, so think about what might work best to support your friend.

  • When you do talk about the relationship, focus on behaviors.

Discussing an abusive partner’s behavior as immoral, unfair, illegal, or sinful can be difficult, since those are subjective concepts. Instead, it can be helpful to identify what kinds of behaviors are healthy, unhealthy, or abusive to draw a contrast for your loved one. For example, “Wow, I’m concerned to hear that your partner is pressuring you into unwanted sexual intimacy. In a healthy relationship, everyone feels safe saying no and knows that their boundaries will be respected.”

  • Remember you’re person, not a rescuer.

You already know that your loved one is struggling with power dynamics in their romantic relationship. Unequal power dynamics in friendships are disempowering, which is why it’s important to never take control of the survivor’s situation. No matter how it might seem from your perspective, your loved one is the expert on their own experience, and they understand the relationship best. You are not responsible for rescuing them from this relationship, nor are you capable of doing so. You’re doing the right thing when you support rather than rescue.

  • Know your limits, and set appropriate boundaries. 

Not everyone has the emotional capacity to support a survivor, and there’s no shame in that. Knowing our limits is an act of strength, because naming our vulnerabilities takes courage. Know the signs of vicarious trauma and observe your own emotions. Your loved one deserves support, and if you are at your upper limit, it’s okay to refer them to us or a local domestic violence program that could better assist them. Then, prioritize your emotional well-being and practice self-care to replenish your emotional resources.

Need more support?

Reach out to our advocates! We are here to support you and your loved one at any point along the way. Reach us 24/7/365 by phone at 1-800-799-7233 or by chat at www.thehotline.org.

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For Immediate Release

Washington, DC – June 21, 2018 – Advocates joined a congressional panel sponsored by the National Domestic Violence Hotline (The Hotline) to examine the state of domestic violence in America today. The panel, led by The Hotline’s Chief Executive Officer, Katie Ray-Jones, briefed a packed room of congressional staffers about trends, demographics, and emerging and unmet needs of victims and survivors of domestic violence revealed in the 2017 Impact Report. Representatives from The Hotline, Department of Health and Human Services and Avon discussed insights identified by the data. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) and Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) attended the briefing and made brief remarks. Both legislators are co-sponsors of the Senate’s bipartisan effort to reauthorize funding for the Family Violence Prevention Services Act (S.2784) that provides critical funding for housing and service programs for domestic violence and dating abuse survivors.

“One in three women and one in seven men are impacted by domestic violence in their lifetime. The 2017 Impact Report illustrated the many ways in which that abuse plays out in relationships where domestic violence is present, as well as shifts in awareness about abuse for survivors of violence. For example, between 2016 and 2017, we saw a sharp increase in contacts reaching out for support and referrals related to gun violence. Additionally, we saw a modest increase in contacts reaching out for support related to immigration, however, advocates at The Hotline have noted that many immigrant survivors aren’t asking for support outside of protective orders or calling the police due to a heightened fear about detention and deportation. Clearly, there is a need for the supportive services and resources provided by organizations like ours,” said Katie Ray-Jones, CEO of The Hotline.  

Last year, 323,356 calls, chats, and texts were answered by advocates, but 98,159 calls went unanswered due to a lack of resources.

Senator Casey said, “I am pleased to be working with The National Domestic Violence Hotline, Senator Cornyn, and others to reauthorize the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act. This critically important legislation supports direct services for victims of domestic violence, helping them stay safe as they rebuild their lives. I look forward to continuing to fight for protections and resources for victims of domestic violence.”

“These are not partisan issues. These are issues that we try to work together on to help people who need help,” said Senator John Cornyn at the event. “The Hotline receives 1,600 calls, texts, and chats each day. It received more than 17,000 last year in Texas alone. These are statistics that demonstrate the dramatic need for the services that you provide.”

The 2017 Impact Report by the numbers:

  • 74% increase in number of contacts indicating that firearms played a role in their abuse
  • 13% increase in number of contacts related to immigration, consistent with a national trend among domestic and sexual violence service providers
  • 11% increase in contacts from persons who reported their abusive situation involved children
  • 13.7% increase in contacts related to suicide (attempts or threats of suicide used as coercion by abuser)

Types of domestic violence and dating abuse most discussed in calls (or texts or chats) with The Hotline and loveisrespect, a project of The Hotline that helps educate young people about healthy relationships and dating violence:

  • Emotional Abuse: 86% reported some type of emotional and verbal abuse.  Emotionally abusive partners often exert power and control over their partners by limiting who their partners see, what they do, and where they go. They instill shame and fear and often demean their partners with insults, threats, and punishments that slowly eat away at their partner’s self-worth. Emotional abusers may prevent their partners from making decisions, and sometimes they prevent them from working outside of the home or seeing family and friends – isolating them. We often hear from women that this type of abusive behavior takes place over years before turning physical.
  • Financial Abuse: 22% reported their abusers were stealing money or limiting access to money, using their partner’s credit cards or forcing their partners to co-sign on lines of credit. Some forced their partners to open joint accounts and preventing them from opening separate accounts or having access to their own money.
  • Physical Abuse: 60% reported some type of physical abuse such as hitting, biting, and choking.  Physical abuse is often what most people think about when we use the term domestic violence.
  • Digital Abuse: 12%.  Examples of digital abuse include using GPS or a phone to stalk their partners or track their travel, sending relentless text messaging, closely monitoring computer use and using cameras in the home to monitor activities. The digital abuse category adapts as innovations in technology expand.
  • Sexual Abuse: 10%. Abusive partners may do things such as forcing unwanted sexual activity, involving other people in sexual activities without permission, forced viewing of pornography or demanding their partner wear sexually explicit clothing.

During the briefing, Debbie Coffey, Vice President of Communications for New Avon LLC, talked about how the lack of financial resources and lack of personal safety are two reinforcing co-dependent crises.  “Without adequate economic resources, women can become imprisoned in a vicious downward cycle from which it is difficult to break free. Given Avon’s focus on providing economic opportunities, it is only natural that the company is passionate about ending violence against women because a woman cannot be truly empowered unless her health and safety are guaranteed. We’re proud to support the National Domestic Violence Hotline and believe in the power of public-private partnerships to bring forth innovative solutions to help end this epidemic of abuse.”

For more information on the 2017 Impact Report and the National Domestic Violence Hotline, please visit www.thehotline.org.

About the National Domestic Violence Hotline

The National Domestic Violence Hotline (The Hotline) is a vital service that answers the call to support and shift power back to victims and survivors of relationship abuse through human connection and practical assistance 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. The Hotline’s highly-trained, expert advocates provide compassionate support to anyone who reaches out for help with lifesaving resources, safety planning and hope. The Hotline is a non-profit established in 1996 as a component of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

loveisrespect is a project of The Hotline. Its purpose is to engage, educate and empower young people to prevent and end abusive relationships. The organization provides information and support to concerned friends and family members, teachers, counselors, service providers and members of law enforcement. Free and confidential phone, live chat and texting services are available 24/7/365. Advocates provide support through online chat at loveisrespect.org, text (send loveis to 22522*) or phone, 1-866-331-9474.

The Hotline relies on the generous support of individuals, private gifts from corporations and foundations and federal grants. It is funded in part by Grant Number 90EV0407/03 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)/Administration for Children and Families. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Administration for Children and Families or the U.S. Department of HHS.

*Msg&Data Rates apply on text for help services. Read our privacy policy and Terms & Conditions. Text STOP to 22522 to unsubscribe. Text HELP to 22522 for tech support. Loveisrespect Text for Help Services are sponsored by Mary Kay Inc.


Contact: Lisa Lawrence

Cell: 803-470-6384

Email: hotline.media@ndvh.org



Media Statement from National Domestic Violence Hotline CEO Regarding U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ Reversal of Immigration Court Ruling Granting Asylum Protection for Domestic Violence Survivors (Wednesday, June 13th 2018)

In a closely watched case, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions reversed the ruling of an immigration court in the Matter of A-B- that allowed a Salvadoran woman to seek asylum in the U.S. and escape her physically abusive husband. The decision yesterday by the Attorney General outlines that individuals cannot seek asylum in the U.S. solely based on the grounds of domestic violence claims, particularly where the perpetrator is a non-government actor. This decision reverses decades of progress made to ensure that immigrant survivors and their children are able to seek refuge and safety, and takes us back to an era where domestic violence was dismissed as a private matter” between two people, not warranting governmental intervention. Here at The Hotline, we know this decision is going to have a devastating impact on immigrant survivors of violence. Without access to critical protections such as asylum for domestic violence victims fleeing partners in another country, this decision threatens the lives of thousands of survivors and their children, including the hundreds of currently pending cases.

Between 2016 and 2017, The Hotline saw a 13.5% increase in contacts from immigrant survivors, as well as their family and friends, to seek crisis counseling, support, safety planning options, and referrals. Many survivors indicated that they did not want to seek protection orders or access criminal justice options for fear of detention or deportation. This is consistent with a national trend, where immigrant survivors are reaching out for help but not wanting to seek legal protections they’re entitled to for fear of being deported and separated from their children.  

It is our hope that stakeholders in the issue of domestic violence will speak up for immigrant survivors and call on Members of Congress to work in a bipartisan manner to implement humane immigration policies that take into account the needs of immigrant survivors of sexual and domestic violence. Without access to critical protections such as asylum for these victims, women and children will be returned to violent homes and some will die.

Katie Ray-Jones

CEO, National Domestic Violence Hotline 



For more information, contact Lisa Lawrence at hotline.media@ndvh.org or 1-803-470-NDVH (6384)

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Immigrant domestic violence survivors need our help now more than ever (Monday, June 11th 2018)

By Qudsia Raja, National Domestic Violence Hotline Policy Director

Yesterday was an exceptionally heavy day for advocates working to protect the rights of immigrant survivors of domestic violence. As policy director for the National Domestic Violence Hotline, I am acutely aware of the climate in our nation’s capital when it comes to government protections for women and children who are survivors of domestic abuse. It is my job to ensure these protections continue through sound, thoughtful policy and that government funding of our direct support services continues. Likewise, in Austin, Texas, home to our national call center, our advocates are busy answering chats, texts, and calls from an average 1,600 people each day reaching out for support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Like me, they are keenly aware of the trauma experienced by the one in four women and one in seven men who will be victims of severe physical violence in their lifetimes. It’s the advocates’ job to offer compassionate support and critical services to anyone affected by emotional, sexual, financial, and physical abuse. Thanks to bi-partisan legislation such as the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA), this advocacy has continued for decades and more than four million people, including tens of thousands of immigrants, have received help through The Hotline.

In a closely watched case, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions reversed the ruling of an immigration court in the Matter of A-B- that allowed a Salvadoran woman to seek asylum in the U.S. and escape her physically abusive husband. The decision yesterday by the Attorney General outlines that individuals cannot seek asylum in the U.S. solely based on the grounds of domestic violence claims, particularly where the perpetrator is a non-government actor. This decision reverses decades of progress made to ensure that immigrant survivors and their children are able to seek refuge and safety, and takes us back to an era where domestic violence was dismissed as a “private matter” between two people, not warranting governmental intervention. Here at The Hotline, we know this decision is going to have a devastating impact on immigrant survivors of violence. Without access to critical protections such as asylum for domestic violence victims fleeing partners in another country, this decision threatens the lives of thousands of survivors and their children, including the hundreds of currently pending cases.

Between 2016 and 2017, The Hotline saw a 13.5% increase in contacts from immigrant domestic violence survivors, as well as their family and friends, to seek crisis counseling, support, safety planning options, and referrals. Many survivors indicated that they did not want to seek protection orders or access criminal justice options for fear of detention or deportation. This is consistent with a national trend, where immigrant survivors are reaching out for help but not wanting to seek legal protections they’re entitled to for fear of being deported and separated from their children.

Today, I ask you to reach out to your Members of Congress and urge them to continue to work in a bipartisan manner to implement humane immigration policies that take into account the needs of immigrant survivors of sexual and domestic violence. Without access to critical protections such as asylum for these victims, women and children will be returned to violent homes and some will die. Now is the time to speak up for them, before it’s too late.

TAKE ACTION: Demand that Congress Reverse this Decision in the Matter of A-B and Provide Critical Protections for Immigrant Survivors of Domestic and Sexual Violence

  • To find your Member of Congress, click here. Urge them to take action today and reject AG Sessions’ decision.
  • Sign a Change.org petition by the Tahirih Justice Center that demands a reversal of the decision.
  • Help uplift and amplify the detrimental impact of this decision by posting on social media and using the following hashtags: #ProtectSurvivors #ImmigrantWomenToo

The National Domestic Violence Hotline sits on the National Taskforce to End Sexual and Domestic Violence (NTF) Steering Committee, a membership that includes national organizations whose primary purpose is to end domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

Today, the NTF issued a statement denouncing the Attorney General’s decision.

Statement of the National Taskforce to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Denouncing the Attorney General’s Decision in Matter of A-B

The Steering Committee of the National Taskforce to End Sexual and Domestic Violence (NTF), comprised of national leadership organizations advocating on behalf of sexual and domestic violence victims and women’s rights, represents hundreds of programs, service providers and community organizations across the country dedicated to making sure that all survivors of violence receive the protections and services they need and deserve.  We are alarmed by the significant adverse impact of the June 11, 2018 Attorney General’s deeply disappointing decision in Matter of A-B-.

The A.G.’s decision strikes at the heart of longstanding protections for domestic violence survivors and others who look to the United States for protection and refuge, taking us back to an era when domestic violence was considered a “private” matter; not meriting government intervention. This decision undermines decades of progress toward human rights policies that recognize the unique vulnerabilities of women and children who have experienced the trauma of violence and need secure immigration status to access safety.  By declaring that the lack of state intervention in domestic violence in other countries cannot be the sole basis for asylum in the U.S., the Attorney General is instituting a policy that will block thousands of people from obtaining refuge in the United States, condemning thousands of domestic violence victims to deportation to dangerous situations where they could very well lose their lives.

Already, this Administration’s policies have served to send the message to immigrant survivors of domestic violence that they are undeserving of safety and justice, making them more vulnerable to threats from abusers and more fearful that they will be separated from their children and communities. In this climate, the NTF calls on our nation’s policymakers to work together to uphold their commitment to all survivors – including through the protections of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) – and to forge a bipartisan, humane national immigration policy.

Congress should reject the Attorney General’s decision in Matter of A-B-., and work in a bipartisan manner to exercise greater oversight of the Administration’s immigration policies that harm domestic violence and sexual assault survivors. As part of these efforts, Congress must preserve and defend provisions in our asylum laws that enable immigrant victims of domestic violence and sexual assault to seek life-saving refuge and protection when their countries’ officials fail to protect them from targeted violence. In addition, Congress must continue to work in a bipartisan manner to seek a more just and humane immigration system that protects survivors and strengthens families, communities, and the nation.

For more information, please contact Archi Pyati, Tahirih Justice Center, at archip@tahirih.org, Grace Huang, Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence at ghuang@api-gbv.org, or Rosie Hidalgo, National Latin@ Network: Casa de Esperanza, at rhidalgo@casadeesperanza.org.





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Help! I Am Undocumented and Experiencing Intimate Partner Violence: What Are My Rights When Reaching Out for Support? (Wednesday, May 9th 2018)

Undocumented-and-Intimate-Partner-Violence-Blog-NDVHby Eleanor, a Bilingual Advocate at The Hotline

Here at The Hotline, we know that many immigrants experiencing domestic violence do not feel safe reaching out for support. Reporting abuse can lead to unwanted media attention or even an investigation from U.S. border enforcement agencies that may result in indefinite detention and/or deportation. If you are undocumented, it’s likely that your abusive partner is aware of your citizenship status, and may use this as a way to maintain power and control over you.

Regardless of your immigration status, know that there is hope and that there are options available to support you and keep you safe. Prior to taking action, it can be helpful to always know your rights, seek counsel from a lawyer who specializes in the type of immigration assistance that you are needing, and research how your university and/or local law enforcement agency have handled cases involving undocumented victims of crime in the past.

Know Your Rights

Even though immigration laws are constantly changing, it’s important to know your rights. You always have the right to stay safe and you do not need to disclose your immigration status in order to receive help. Additionally, it’s important to know that you have the right to access limited English proficiency assistance, emergency medical care, sheltershort-term housing, crisis counseling and intervention programs, soup kitchens, community food banks, protection under Title IX, assistance from law enforcement, and Crime Victim Compensation. You also have the right to file for protective orders, divorce, or custody of your children.

I don’t feel confident reading, writing, or speaking in English.

If you need language assistance, American Red Cross Language Bank offers free interpretation and translation services (you can fill out a request form here). If you need more immediate support to be able to contact a shelter, you can always reach out to The Hotline directly! We have English and Spanish speaking advocates available on phone and chat, as well as access to language interpretation services in over 170+ different languages when you contact us by phone.

Additionally, when you reach out to an emergency shelter, health clinic, or law enforcement for help, you have a right to interpretation and translation services. If you are declined limited English proficiency services, that is considered discrimination. If this happens, you or a close friend (not at risk of deportation) can file a complaint online at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights website.

I need medical assistance, but don’t have health insurance.

Federal law mandates that any hospital receiving government funding must provide care for all patients needing emergency medical care until a patient is stabilized. This law covers all individuals regardless of immigration status and does not require proof of citizenship or insurance. If you are asked about proof of insurance or citizenship, you have the right not to answer.

However, emergency medical care can be expensive. If you need more affordable options, it may be helpful to reach out to National Association of Free & Affordable Clinics, which offers free services to all individuals at any of their 1,200 clinics nationwide. There are also community health centersCVS Minute ClinicsPlanned ParenthoodGay Men’s Health CrisisLGBTQ-centered health clinics and Trans-centered health clinics that offer inclusive, free, and/or low-cost healthcare options.

Keep in mind, each state and medical facility may have different family violence statutes and mandatory reporting laws. If you are concerned about the possibility of an investigation by police, it can be helpful to review your local state statutes and/or healthcare facility’s mandatory reporting guidelines prior to seeking medical attention.

I heard shelters don’t serve undocumented immigrants.

The myth that shelters are unable to provide support to undocumented immigrants is false, and violates the Attorney General Order requiring that any services “necessary for the protection of life and safety” be provided without regard to immigration status. This requirement exempts all shelters and government domestic violence services from verifying immigration status as a condition for providing services. If a shelter or government domestic violence services program denies services to someone based on their citizenship status, they are in violation of this mandate, and may also be in violation of civil rights and fair housing laws.

Knowing that you are entitled to receive support does not make the process of reaching out and telling someone that you are experiencing abuse any easier. If you are feeling emotionally overwhelmed about taking the first step, it can be helpful to start small by reaching out to an immigration crisis hotline. Abuse tends to thrive in isolation, so it’s important that you try to connect with someone who can help keep you safe, make you feel secure, and does not judge what is happening or has happened to you.

I am an undocumented student attending high school or university.

If you are an undocumented student attending a high school or university that receives federal funding, you are protected under Title IX and the Clery Act when reporting abuse. If your school asks you to disclose your immigration status to administrators when reporting intimate partner violence or sexual assault, this is considered a form of intimidation and is in direct violation of the Clery Act.

We understand that reporting is not an option for everyone, especially if you identify as LGBTQ and are attending a university with Title IX religious exemptions. If you fear exposing your undocumented status, you may be able to file a complaint anonymously, either with the federal government or with your school. If you feel your university mishandled your situation, you have the right to file a federal complaint. Additional information can be found at End Rape on Campus or Know Your IX.

I am not sure if undocumented immigrants can file for custody.

Undocumented immigrants have a constitutional right to file for custody of their children. National Immigrant Women’s Advocacy ProjectLIFT Justice for All, and WomensLaw.org all provide information about the intersection of family court and immigration laws. Reaching out to one of these resources can be a helpful first step in determining your options.

I am afraid to talk to law enforcement or involve police.

You are not alone if you do not feel safe talking to law enforcement. However, it’s important for everyone, including undocumented immigrants, to prepare themselves emotionally for the possibility of interacting with police, especially if you find yourself in a situation where you may need to text 911call police, or file a protective order. If law enforcement inquires about your status, you have the right to stay silent or choose not to answer. As we mentioned before, it can be helpful to always know your rights, seek counsel from a lawyer who specializes in the type of immigration assistance that you are needing, and research how your university and/or local law enforcement agency have handled cases involving undocumented victims of crime in the past.

U.S. citizenship is not a requirement to apply for Crime Victim Compensation (in most states).

If you are an undocumented victim of a violent crime, you may be able to qualify for Crime Victim Compensation. Crime Victim Compensation is a federal program that can help victims of violent crimes receive financial assistance to pay for medical expenses, lost wages, counseling, and/or funeral or burial costs. Each state and U.S. territory varies in eligibility requirements. However, U.S. citizenship is not a requirement to apply for compensation, with the exception of Missouri and Nebraska. If you’d like to talk more about the process of applying for Crime Victim Compensation, you can chat anonymously with an advocate at Victim Connect.

I don’t have the financial resources to pay for therapy.

If counseling is something that you feel would be helpful for you, feel free to reach out and ask! A Hotline advocate can direct you to local resources that may be available for individual professional counseling that are free or low cost. If you are seeking counseling resources specific to sexual assault, you can contact RAINN. They offer services in English and Spanish and also have translators available 24/7! Reaching out to an online support group can also be a great option if you work, have children, do not have transportation readily available, or just feel more comfortable in an online setting. Check out these additional resources:

For safety planning and help locating resources in your area, feel free to reach out to an advocate at 1-800-799-7233 or chat at www.thehotline.org.


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I Just Want Help. Why Do I Have to Answer All These Questions? (Wednesday, April 25th 2018)

By Michelle, Development & Marketing Team Member and former Advocate at The Hotline

Deciding to reach out to The Hotline can be extremely difficult. Maybe you struggle to find the right opportunity, or maybe you’re just scared and don’t know what to expect. It can be frustrating to finally gather the courage to call, only to have to answer a bunch of questions before getting the help you need. However, the questions we ask at the start of every conversation help us provide you with the very best possible support for your situation, and help our organization work toward our mission. With the exceptions of the initial safety question and in some cases, your age, you never have to share any information you don’t feel comfortable sharing. To help you prepare, here are some questions you can expect to be asked when you do reach out.

“Are you currently safe to talk?”

At the beginning of any conversation, our advocates will first confirm whether you are safe to talk to us. If you aren’t sure of your answer, ask yourself if there is anyone around who might hurt you if they found out you were talking to us. If the answer is no, you’re probably safe. If the answer is yes, that probably means right now is not the best time to be reaching out. Your safety is our #1 priority, and we never want you to do anything that is going to put you in more danger. The Hotline cannot send help to your location, so we always encourage you to call 911 if you are in need of emergency assistance.

“What is your age, race, and gender?”

Your advocate (or pre-chat survey, if you’re chatting online) will next ask you some demographic questions, such as your age, race/ethnicity, and gender. We recognize that answering these questions, especially about race, can be triggering for some people. Remember that you never have to answer any questions you don’t feel comfortable answering. The only exception is that if you are chatting with us, you do have to share your age. This is due to legal restrictions that prohibit us from chatting with individuals under 13 years of age.

We ask demographic information for a few reasons. Firstly, knowing this type of information about a caller or chatter helps us provide the very best advocacy for that person’s situation. For example, knowing that a caller is male helps our advocate provide education around specific stigma male survivors may face, and allows them to direct the caller to shelters that serve men (many do not). Learning that a chatter identifies as Native American lets our advocate know to ask whether the abuse occurred on tribal land (which can impact a survivor’s legal choices) and speak to issues of cultural abuse. The more we know about your situation, the better we can support you with appropriate information and resources.

We also use demographic information to understand the populations we serve. This information is so valuable for us as our organization grows and changes, as it lets us identify where we are doing well and where there is still work to be done. For example, we can ask questions like “What populations aren’t reaching out to us? What obstacles might those groups be facing and how can we address them?” or “What types of web content and advocate training can we develop around groups that are starting to seek our services in larger numbers?” Collecting demographic information ultimately helps our organization move forward in a direction to best support those who reach out to us.

The last main reason we collect demographic information is to help us maintain and secure funding. Our funders want to know what populations we are serving, and statistics help us share that information with them in meaningful ways. Our funding, however, is not dependent on the content of information we gather. We are not granted more money for serving higher numbers of any specific population, and we do not have demographic quotas that we must meet. Knowing information about those who reach out allows us to seek funding to develop programs and initiatives specifically geared toward better serving certain groups.

“How did you hear about us?”

This question is a bit more straightforward. We like to ask how you heard about us so we know how well we are publicizing our organization. Some generous corporate funders also help to promote our services, and we love recognizing their impact when someone has learned about us from one of their initiatives. Your answer to this question helps us learn what we’re doing that is or isn’t working, and hopefully reach as many people as we possibly can.

“Have you talked with an advocate in the past?”

While your advocate will always meet you with empathy, respect and validation no matter how many times you’ve reached out, it can be helpful for them to know whether this is your first time. If it’s not, your advocate might ask what resources we’ve shared with you in the past and how those worked out for you, so we aren’t giving you the same information as last time. They might also ask what has changed since the last time you contacted us so we can understand how the safety plan you formulated in the past has been working for you. Remember that The Hotline is not meant to provide long-term support, so if you find yourself having to reach out to us frequently, let your advocate know you’d like a resource that can provide you with longer-term care, such as a counselor in your area.

Again, aside from your safety and possibly age, you never have to share any information with your advocate that you aren’t comfortable sharing. You are only required to share your age if you reach out via chat or text, so if you know you don’t want to share that information, please call us instead. Remember that we ask these questions to ultimately provide you with the very best possible support for your situation, and to help us achieve our vision of a world where all relationships are positive, healthy, and free from violence. Whenever you’re ready to reach out, our advocates will be here 24/7/365 by phone at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) and by chat at www.thehotline.org.

The post I Just Want Help. Why Do I Have to Answer All These Questions? appeared first on The National Domestic Violence Hotline.


Jennifer’s Story (Monday, April 16th 2018)

By Michelle, Administrative Assistant and former Advocate at The Hotline

Jennifer* was just 19 years old when she met her boyfriend in 2010 through a mutual friend. He was smart, kind and so generous, often showering her with gifts and surprising her at work to take her out to lunch, always picking up the check. Consumed by this whirlwind romance, Jennifer began spending all of her free time with her new partner. When he asked her to move in with him just two months into their relationship, there was little doubt in her mind when she enthusiastically agreed, “I thought it was a little soon, but I was so excited to build a home with him that I didn’t mind.”

After living together for a few months, Jennifer was starting to realize she hadn’t seen much of her friends or family since entering into this relationship. One day, she invited a male coworker to grab lunch with her to catch up. While out at lunch, her phone started buzzing with a call from her partner. Not wanting to be rude to her coworker, she ignored the call. Her partner called back repeatedly until Jennifer answered, and when she finally did, he accused her of cheating on him. He had stopped by the office for a surprise lunch date, but the receptionist told him Jennifer was already out with her colleague. Her boyfriend told Jennifer he knew what they were “really” doing.

Jennifer was horrified her partner thought she was being unfaithful. She didn’t think she had done anything wrong. She felt so guilty for the pain she had caused him, and how inconsiderate she had been. She immediately went to find her partner, not returning to work, and apologized profusely for having been so disrespectful. She even volunteered to show him her text history with her colleague to prove there was nothing between them. After that, her partner forgave her, but said that it was only fair that she agree to never spend time alone with other men, stop talking to her coworker, and let her boyfriend approve what she wore to work and to check her phone every day. “I thought that was kind of a harsh punishment,” Jennifer said, “but I felt so bad. I wanted him to forgive me completely, and I wanted the whole thing to be over, so I agreed.”

Three years into their relationship, after living daily life further and further under her partner’s control, Jennifer found out she was pregnant. She had been worried this might happen since her partner forced her to stop taking birth control pills. When she finally broke the news to him, he was overjoyed. “Now you can quit your job!” he said. Jennifer was confused—she loved her job and had no intention of quitting, even if she was going to have a baby. Her boyfriend became enraged, yelling, throwing things, and telling her she would be a terrible mother if working was more important than spending time with her child. She had never seen him this violent before, and she was scared of what he might do. She agreed to quit her job and did so the following day.

One day, six months into her pregnancy, Jennifer wanted to get a haircut. Her partner now had full control of their finances, so she asked for some money to see her stylist. Her boyfriend refused, asking her who she was trying to look good for. Jennifer fought back, and explained to us, “I was starting to see that I wasn’t the problem, his insecurity was. I called him out on it and it was like I flipped a switch.” Her boyfriend slapped her across the face so hard that she fell onto the ground and was left with a black eye. At her prenatal visit the following week, Jennifer’s doctor told her that her baby was in perfect health, but asked about her eye. Her boyfriend, who now insisted on being present at every check-up, told the doctor that Jennifer had hit it on their kitchen cabinet. Too scared to tell her doctor the truth behind her injury, Jennifer went along with his story.

After their daughter was born, things between Jennifer and her boyfriend seemed to be improving. “We were so in love with her,” Jennifer said, “We agreed to put the past behind us and look forward to the future.” However, three months later, her boyfriend once again became violent, pushing Jennifer into a wall and choking her during an argument. She broke away and tried to call 911, but her partner slapped her phone out of her hand, smashed it with his foot and sexually assaulted her. Unfortunately, this pattern of violence continued in their relationship for years.

Two years later, their daughter was throwing a tantrum and would not stop crying. Her boyfriend began yelling, and when Jennifer yelled back, her partner beat her so severely that she had to go to the emergency room. Their little girl saw the whole thing. “My daughter watched me get stitches that night,” Jennifer said. “I thought about the example I was setting for her if I stayed.” She decided enough was enough, and told her boyfriend she was leaving him. He threatened to hire a lawyer and sue her for sole custody, and promised that Jennifer, having no money to afford a lawyer of her own, would never see her daughter again. Terrified at the possibility of losing her daughter, Jennifer made the choice to stay in her relationship, and gave up hope that she would ever be free of abuse.

Six months ago, Jennifer was reading an article that referenced The Hotline, and she decided to reach out while her boyfriend was away at a conference. Through tears, she told our advocate how embarrassed and ashamed she was that she hadn’t been able to protect herself or her daughter, “I tried so hard to protect her,” she explained. “I never wanted her to see the way he treats me behind closed doors. I didn’t report him because I was sure he would kill me or kidnap my daughter if I ever said anything.”

Our advocate reassured Jennifer that the abuse she was experiencing was not her fault, and identified the emotional, physical, sexual, digital and financial tactics her partner was using to maintain power and control over her in their relationship. Together, they explored options for Jennifer’s physical safety and emotional well-being as she decided to leave her abuser. They eventually came up with a plan for Jennifer to pack up her things and take her daughter to her sister’s house nearby, reach out to a local legal resource that offered free services for survivors, gather documentation of her abuse, and start going to a local support group for survivors. At the end of her conversation, Jennifer told her advocate, “Thank you so much for sharing these resources and for being there to listen to me. I finally feel like my head is clear. I know what is happening, I know it is abuse, and I’m not as scared anymore. Thank you.”

Recently, Jennifer reached back out to The Hotline, saying, “I just wanted to thank you all. Six months ago I was in a domestic violence situation. I spoke with one of your advocates and they gave me a plan and some resources in my area to reach out to. I followed the plan and although I am still fighting my ex for custody, I am safe and happy. Until I came here, I thought I was alone and that no one would believe me. Your organization saved my life.”

Help us continue our work in helping survivors find safe and happy lives by making your gift today. This is why we always need to be there when someone reaches out to The Hotline. Together, we can help the hundreds of thousands of people who reach out to us every year—resilient individual who are seeking safety from abusers plus the understanding, healing and hope that every survivor needs and deserves.

*Names and details have been changed to protect identities. Jennifer’s story is compiled from real experiences of survivors who have contacted The Hotline. To protect survivors’ safety, we never publish a survivor’s full story without their express permission.

The post Jennifer’s Story appeared first on The National Domestic Violence Hotline.


Sexual Assault Awareness Month 2018: Embrace Your Voice (Tuesday, April 10th 2018)

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and this year’s theme is “Embrace Your Voice.” Between the Harvey Weinstein revelations, the #MeToo campaign, and the Time’s Up movement, we have watched survivors and allies all over the globe embrace their voices over the past few months in an important conversation around sexual harassment, assault, and abuse. It’s important to remember however, that there are many who will choose never to share their stories, and that’s okay, too. Embracing your voice around sexual assault can happen in so many ways, whether it’s calling out offensive “locker room talk” that normalizes sexual assault, guiding a friend to appropriate resources in a time of need, or simply practicing good consent strategies with your sexual partners. It’s important that we all work to fight sexual assault in whatever way we feel capable, big or small.

Join us tomorrow, Wednesday, April 11, at 1 p.m. Central on our Twitter account (@ndvh) as we take part in a Sexual Assault Awareness Month-themed Twitter chat with the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA). You can also search for #NEDAChat on Twitter to tune-in.

Some statistics about sexual assault and abuse from RAINN:

  • Every 98 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted.
  • 1 in 6 American women (17%) and 1 in 33 American men (3%) have been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime.
  • Ages 18-24 carry a high risk of sexual violence:
    • 21% of transgender, genderqueer and nonconforming college students, 18% of cisgender female college students, and 4% of cisgender male college students have been sexually assaulted.
    • 18-24 year old women who are not in college are 20% more likely to be sexually assaulted than students of the same age.
  • Native Americans are twice as likely to experience sexual assault compared to all races.
  • 7 out of 10 rapes are committed by someone known to the victim.
  • 25% of rapes are committed by a current or former intimate partner.
  • Perpetrators of sexual violence are less likely to go to jail or prison than any other criminals: out of every 1000 rapes, only 310 are reported to police and only 6 rapists will be incarcerated.

While The Hotline is not a sexual assault resource, we know that sexual violence can be one way an abuser maintains power and control over their victim. If you or someone you know is experiencing sexual violence from an intimate partner, please call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or chat with us by selecting Chat Now. For support and resources specifically geared toward sexual assault (including sexual assault that is not part of an intimate partner relationship), please reach out to RAINN at 1(800)-656-HOPE (4673) or chat at www.rainn.org.

The post Sexual Assault Awareness Month 2018: Embrace Your Voice appeared first on The National Domestic Violence Hotline.


“O. J. Simpson: The Lost Confession?”: A Recap from The Hotline (Thursday, March 29th 2018)

By Michelle, Administrative Assistant and former Advocate at The Hotline

On Sunday, March 11, 2018 FOX aired a special, never-before-seen interview with O. J. Simpson where he discussed his relationship with ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson, who was brutally murdered in her Brentwood, CA home, along with Ron Goldman, in June 1994. In this interview, Simpson describes what he called a hypothetical account of what may have happened that night, if he had been the killer. Whether you believe O.J. Simpson is guilty or innocent, there were several themes from this interview that are all-too-common in many abusive relationships.OJ-Simpson-Blog-Image

Gift-giving: O.J. describes a whirlwind courtship with Nicole where he purchased many expensive gifts to win her over at the beginning of their relationship. Abusive relationships can tend to move very quickly in their early stages, maybe even faster than the survivor is comfortable with. Many survivors report being swept off their feet by abusers, showered with gifts and affection like they’ve never experienced, and it can be a very exciting and intoxicating feeling. But abusers are master manipulators, and this affectionate behavior can be part of their strategy to ultimately gain power and control—a new partner may be more willing to accept their abusive “flaws” after they have shown so much generosity. Some abusers may also dote on their partners with gifts as a way to apologize for the abuse after the fact. O. J. often mentioned the gifts he purchased for Nicole as evidence of what a great partner he had been and how lucky Nicole was to be with him, almost as if she owed him for his financial support. It’s important to remember that your safety is priceless—you are never your partner’s property, no matter how much they spend on you.

Intimidation: O. J. describes an incident in 1984 where he damaged Nicole’s car with a baseball bat, saying he doesn’t know why everyone made such a big deal out of it. In his version of events, he was standing next to her car (which he mentions several times that he purchased for her), bouncing the bat off the tire, when Nicole warned him he would have to pay for any damage he made to the car. O.J. became upset that she would suggest he would have to pay for damage when he had been the one to purchase the car. To prove his point that he could do anything he wanted to his property, O.J. took the bat to the car. The police report notes a smashed windshield, and some accounts place Nicole inside the car at the time of the incident. Commentator Rita Smith astutely pointed out that even if O. J.’s version is true, simply standing next to the car with a baseball bat during a fight can in itself be a threatening act, “Subtle, and not so subtle, forms of violence are used to continue to keep control over their victim. So him just bouncing the bat off of the tire, initially, was a subtle message: I am in charge. I will determine the framework for this relationship. I will decide what happens, when it happens. You will not, or you will die.”

By trying to downplay the incident as not being a big deal, O. J. is attempting to minimize his own unhealthy and threatening behaviors rather than taking responsibility for his actions. He later chalks his reaction that night up to his “volatile temper.” While anger can contribute to an abusive situation, it does not cause abuse. Everyone gets angry, but not everyone makes the choice to engage in violent and abusive behaviors as a way to cope with those feelings. By blaming his actions on his temper, O. J. again seeks to avoid responsibility for his choices.

Rewriting the narrative: O. J. describes several incidents where Nicole “misunderstood” or “overreacted” to his unhealthy and threatening behavior; he even cites her “explosive personality” as a reason their arguments became violent. Even if Nicole reacted violently at times, it would not have excused O. J.’s choices. Nicole’s friend and commentator on the show, Eve Shakti Chen, mentioned that Nicole was definitely not violent and tended to withdraw when attacked, so it is likely that O. J.’s attempt to reframe Nicole as a combative person is another way he seeks to avoid responsibility for his abusive behavior.

Abusers often try to minimize their partner’s emotions or even blame victims for the abuse, which allows them to avoid taking responsibility for their own actions. This behavior can be a form of gaslighting, an emotionally abusive tactic where the abuser aims to make the victim question their feelings, memories, and experiences in order to gain power and control over them. While we can see survivors adopt violent reactions as a defense against the abuse they are experiencing, there is no such thing as mutual abuse, as one partner always has more power and control in the relationship.

Another area we can see this type of manipulation come into play is in abusers’ relationships with their partners’ family members. Since an isolated partner is more easily controlled, abusers usually seek to damage their partners’ relationships with those in their support system. Denise, Nicole’s sister, was very protective of her and critical of her relationship with O. J. He mentions that he tried warning Nicole about Denise’s “jealousy,” aiming to discredit her support by reframing her as a threat to Nicole. O. J. again dismisses Denise as being jealous when discussing her in his interview, hoping to discredit her accusations that he is to blame for Nicole’s murder.

Legal issues: Viewers of the program saw shocking photos of Nicole’s injuries after O. J. assaulted her on New Year’s 1989, which later required a trip to the hospital. When police arrived, Nicole ran out of the bushes, yelling, “He’s going to kill me!” She expressed frustration that police had not taken any action against her partner, despite this being the ninth time they had been called to the Simpson residence for domestic violence-related issues. O. J. was later arrested and charged with spousal abuse, plead no contest and was sentenced to 120 hours community service, two years probation, and a $700 fine. A New York Times article describes the preferential treatment O. J. was given during sentencing, and the leniency with which his sentence was enforced, “That arrangement was characterized by domestic violence experts today as highly unusual and ineffective.” Nicole told many of her friends and family about the abuse she experienced both before and after this assault. Their written testimony was later submitted as evidence during O. J.’s murder trial. O. J. and Nicole later decided to get a divorce, but Nicole would not allow the abuse to be discussed during the proceedings. O. J. mentions in his interview that he appreciates how Nicole “wouldn’t lie” about him abusing her, implying that her many calls to the police, stories to friends, and even documentation of abuse were all made under false pretenses. Interviewer Judith Regan suggests that Nicole may have been too scared to be honest about her abuse during the divorce; indeed, many survivors may fear retaliation from their partners if they are truthful about their experiences.

While calling the police or pursuing legal action against an abuser are not always the safest or even best options for survivors, safely documenting the abuse in the moment with photos or witness statements as Nicole did can help to build evidence against an abuser in the event legal action (including custody proceedings) is taken down the line. Should a survivor choose to document what they’re experiencing, it’s crucial to find safe ways to do so. Assisting a survivor in safely documenting can be a great way for concerned friends or family members to support someone in an abusive relationship, as long as the survivor expresses wanting that kind of support. Unless someone is in immediate danger, we discourage involving the police on behalf of someone else unless they have asked you to do so. If you need help finding ways to safely document an abusive situation, please reach out to one of our advocates today.

Stalking: Unfortunately, divorce is not usually enough to stop an abuser from seeking power and control over their ex-partner, and they may find new and different ways to abuse once the relationship has ended. We often see emotionally abusive behaviors such as stalking, which is loosely defined as “any course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.” O. J. described several incidents where he claims he coincidentally ran into Nicole, but Nicole shared with friends that she felt he was stalking her, showing up everywhere she went. In his interview, O. J. talks about a time when he showed up at Nicole’s house, only to watch her having sex with a new partner through the window before knocking on her door to interrupt them. By following and watching Nicole after their break up, O. J. continued to assert power and control over her, and his behavior was emotionally abusive. O. J. also discussed an incident in which he physically broke down Nicole’s door to talk to her about behavior of hers he did not approve of. Nicole’s 911 call from that night was featured on FOX’s program, and O. J. can be heard in the background making threats, yelling, and calling her names. While O. J. justified his actions as being necessary to protect his children, that reasoning does not excuse his behavior. If O. J. had concerns about Nicole’s parenting, he had the option to discuss them with her respectfully. Putting her in physical danger, breaking both physical and emotional boundaries and trying to control her choices were abusive decisions that he made, and they were not Nicole’s fault.

Reconciliation: O. J. and Nicole separated and got back together several times over the course of their relationship. While many people think it is easy for a survivor to walk away from an abusive relationship, that is not usually the case. There are many reasons a survivor may choose to reconcile or stay with an abuser, including wanting their children to have a full, loving relationship with both parents, as Nicole did. It takes survivors an average of seven attempts at ending an abusive relationship before ending it for good.

Blaming it on love: O. J. wrote about Nicole in a note to his lawyer, Rob Kardashian, “If we had a problem, it’s because I loved her so much.” We often see the jealous or protective partner romanticized in our society, and abusers may claim to be acting out of love. While love can definitely exist in an abusive relationship, it does not excuse abuse in any way. In healthy relationships, partners trust one another to make their own choices and never jeopardize their partner’s safety, even when they’re upset.

If themes from O. J. and Nicole’s story felt familiar to you, please call or chat with an advocate today. Advocates can help you identify abusive behaviors, develop a personalized safety plan, connect with local legal resources, and so much more. Call or chat with us 24/7/365 by calling 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) | 1-800-787-3224 (TTY) or chatting with us by selecting, “Chat Now” at the top of our website.

The post “O. J. Simpson: The Lost Confession?”: A Recap from The Hotline appeared first on The National Domestic Violence Hotline.


Reporting Agency? That’s Not What We Are (Monday, March 26th 2018)

By Heather, a Hotline Advocate

Lately there has been some confusion about what services the National Domestic Violence Hotline provides. The Hotline deals with situations of abuse or unhealthy behaviors in dating or spousal relationships. If you need help for something other than intimate partner (dating/spouse) abuse, see below for information about organizations that may be better able to assist you.


We are not a reporting agency.  We are confidential and anonymous.  We cannot call 911 for you.

Hotline advocates cannot make direct reports of any kind to law enforcement. While we are mandated to report child abuse and abuse of vulnerable adults to the appropriate authorities whenever personally identifying information is shared, doing so takes time away from the thousands of victims and survivors of relationship abuse who contact us each day.

Our advocates receive extensive training to empower survivors of intimate partner violence, provide education on the dynamics of abuse within romantic relationships, help create safety plans, and refer to local resources specifically for survivors of abuse or violence from a dating partner or spouse. You deserve the very best support for your situation, no matter what you are dealing with, and we want you to get that support. If you are facing issues other than intimate partner violence, please check this list for resources better equipped to provide you with support.

If you have concerns about anyone’s immediate safetycall 911!

For concerns about CHILD abuse:

  • ChildhelpThe Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline is available by phone 24/7 at 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453). Childhelp is also not a reporting agency, but if you have questions about what is considered child abuse in your state, or would happen if you made a Child Protective Services (CPS) report or went to the police about your concerns, they can answer them. Every state is different when it comes to reporting child abuse, and Childhelp can get you the phone number, or website where possible, to make a report. First-hand reports are always more valuable to child abuse investigators than when someone else makes them.
  • National Runaway Safeline – Even if you’re not thinking about running away from home, the Runaway Safeline is a great resource for children and young adults who are struggling with issues at home. It is for both runaway and homeless youth. Youth and family members connect to the hotline or to online crisis services to work through problems and find local help from social service agencies and organizations. Available 24/7 by phone at 1-800-RUNAWAY (1-800-786-2929). They also offer text, chat, email, and online forums.
  • National Safe Place – To find the nearest Safe Place shelter or youth/children’s shelter near you text SAFE and your city and state to 44357. Within seconds, you will receive a message with the closest Safe Place site and phone number for the local youth agency. You will also have the option to text interactively with a professional for more help. It’s quick, easy, safe and confidential.  
  • Your Life Your Voice from Boys Town – Available by chat, email, text, and phone, YLYV can provide help and guidance on most issues young people face, from bullying or grades, to eating disorders or abuse at home. YourLifeYourVoice.org is part of The Boys Town National Hotline. They also offer a bulletin board of topics they’ve already addressed, if that feels safer. Available by phone 24/7 at 1-800-448-3000.
  • LGBT National Youth Talkline – For queer youth with concerns in any way related to their sexual orientation or gender. Reach out any time via email, or call 1-800-246-7743 Monday-Friday from 1-9pm Pacific Time and Saturday from 9am-2pm Pacific.
  • Trans Lifeline – A crisis line by transgender people, for transgender people available at 1-877-565-8860. Trans Lifeline operators are available 18 hours a day every day of the week. Go to their website for availability per time zone.
  • Trevor Project – A suicide/crisis line for LGBTQ youth called the TrevorLifeline, available 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386. They also offer chat and text.
  • Crisis Text LineText HOME to 741741 for help 24/7 with any kind of crisis.

For concerns about VULNERABLE ADULT or ELDER abuse:

  • National Adult Protective Services Association – This national organization can direct you to the phone number, or website where possible, to report suspected abuse or neglect of an older adult or an adult with a disability. First-hand reports are always more valuable to elder abuse investigators than when someone else makes them.
  • Local Adult Protective Services – As with child abuse, the reporting options and requirements for elderly or disabled adults vary state by state.
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Information Line – ADA Specialists, who assist callers in understanding how the ADA applies to their situation, are available on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9:30am-5:30pm Eastern Time and on Thursday from 12:30pm-5:30pm Eastern. Calls are confidential. 1-800-514-0301 (voice); 1-800-514-0383 (TTY). También disponible en español.

For adults who are not disabled or elderly facing abuse from anyone other than an intimate partner, including neighbors, roommates, employers, and strangers:

  • 211 – Available 24/7 by calling 2-1-1 on any phone, this project of United Way can offer referrals in your local community for everything from shelter to food banks to counseling to job help. They’re the first place we recommend people go to find out what kind of help is available nearby. 211’s website is available in over 100 languages. Available by phone, text, or web.
  • Victim Connect – Offering confidential referrals for crime victims of any kind, VictimConnect can be reached at 855-4-VICTIM (855-484-2846) from 8:30am–7:30pm EST, Monday–Friday. Online chat is available 9:30am–6:30pm EST, Monday–Friday. Interpretation is available in more than 200 languages.
  • Crime Victim Compensation – Though every state operates their own CVC, this resource helps the public understand the government programs available to reimburse victims of violent crimes – such as assault, homicide, rape, and, in some states, burglary – as well as their families for many of their out-of-pocket expenses.
  • GoodTherapy – This website lets people search for counselors, therapists and treatment centers by zip code and specialization. Everyone could use a good therapist! Search on their website or call 1-888-563-2112 to find a therapist.
  • Childhood Domestic Violence Association – A support agency for those who grew up exposed to domestic violence between their parents or guardians.
  • SocialServe – An affordable housing locator tool with information on renting in 34 states, and buying in 11 states. También disponible en español.
  • S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) – HUD operates Section 8 Programs, and you can search for low-rent apartments by state, or look into other rental assistance programs. También disponible en español.
  • Aunt Bertha – A locator tool to find free or low-cost services like medical care, food, job training and more, searchable by zip code.
  • LIHEAP – The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program may be able to help pay utility bills.
  • Making Home Affordable – This agency can help with mortgage payments for those who qualify. For information about programs and/or guidance on your options, housing counselors are available 24/7 in more than 170 languages at 888-995-HOPE™ (4673). También disponible en español. Their website is also available in Chinese, Korean, Russian, Vietnamese and Tagalog.
  • FORGE-Forward – An organization whose mission is to support, educate and advocate for the rights and lives of transgender individuals and SOFFAs (Significant Others, Friends, Family, and Allies). Check out their website for a collection of resources.
  • LGBT National Hotline – Available at 1-888-843-4564 M-F from 1-9pm Pacific Time and Saturday 9am-2pm Pacific Time.
  • Anti-Violence Project – This New York-based agency envisions a world in which all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and HIV-affected people are safe, respected, and live free from violence. AVP offers a free bilingual (English/Spanish) crisis intervention hotline staffed by trained counselors available 24/7 at 212-714-1141. Online reporting is also an option.
  • 9to5 Job Survival Helpline – For help with discrimination, harassment or violence in the workplace, call 1-800-522-0925. The Helpline is staffed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays 2-5pm EST. You may leave a message with your name, number and issue of concern at any time. Calls will be returned within 2-3 days. Available via email at helpline@9to5.org. También disponible en español.
  • S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) – If you believe that you have been discriminated against at work because of your race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information, you can file a Charge of Discrimination. También disponible en español. Also available in Arabic, Chinese, Haitian Creole, Korean, Russian and Vietnamese.
  • Stalking Resource Center – For anyone concerned about stalking (whether from a stranger or someone known to you) this website has a template to log concerning incidents as well as safety planning information and tips. También disponible en español.

For survivors of sexual abuse by someone other than an intimate partner:

  • RAINN – The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network has a 24/7 hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (1-800-656-4673) and has chat services available in English and Spanish as well. They can connect survivors with local sexual assault programs, too.
  • Stop It Now! – Striving to help everyone in the community stop the sexual abuse of children, Stop It Now! operates a Helpline M-F from 12-6pm Eastern Time at 1-888-PREVENT (1-888-773-8368) to provide support, guidance and information to adults who wish to speak confidentially either about their own experiences, or concerns for someone else. Chat and email are available as well as an Online Help Center.
  • Polaris Project – Operating the National Human Trafficking Hotline 24/7 at 1-888-373-7888 in English and Spanish. The BeFree Textline is also 24/7: Text HELP to 233733 (BEFREE). Their mission is to connect human trafficking victims and survivors to critical support and services to get help and stay safe, and to equip the anti-trafficking community with the tools to effectively combat all forms of human trafficking.
  • Male Survivor – Male Survivor helps men who’ve been sexually abused, assaulted, or raped through moderated discussion boards, 24/7, which are used by more than 100,000 men each year from more than 150 countries around the globe.
  • DoD Safe Helpline – Sexual assault support for the military and the Department of Defense community. Available 24/7 at 1-877-995-5247. Chat, group chat and text are available.
  • Pandora’s Project – This non-profit is dedicated to providing information, support, and resources to survivors of rape and sexual abuse and their friends and family. They have an extensive library of articles and resources for survivors, as well as an online support group, a message board and chat room.
  • After Silence – Offers an online support group, message board, and chat room for rape, sexual assault, and sexual abuse survivors. After Silence también es disponible en español.

For parents and guardians who are facing violence from their child(ren):

  • Parents Anonymous – This national resource for parents offers support groups, international leadership networking, and programming for children. Some support groups are available in Spanish.
  • National Parent Helpline – A project of Parents Anonymous, the National Parent Helpline is available M-F 10am-7pm Pacific Time at 1-855-4APARENT (1-855-427-2736) to provide emotional support from trained advocates, they help callers become empowered and be stronger parents. The National Parent Helpline is available in English and Spanish.

For people who are feeling suicidal:

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – Available 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255 and by chat, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provide free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress, and to the loved ones of people who have committed suicide. También disponible en español.
  • Trans Lifeline – A crisis line by transgender people for transgender people available at 1-877-565-8860. Go to their website for availability per time zone.
  • Trevor Project – A suicide/crisis line for LGBTQ youth available 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386. They also offer chat, text and a social networking site for LGBTQ youth ages 13-24 and their friends and allies.
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) – Offering information and support on all kinds of mental health concerns and illnesses, the NAMI HelpLine operates M-F 10am-6pm Eastern Time at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264). Available via email at info@nami.org. También disponible en español.
  • Crisis Text LineText HOME to 741741 for help 24/7 with any kind of crisis.
  • IMALIVE – A live online network that uses instant messaging to respond to people in crisis, I’m Alive offers chat services with volunteers who are trained and certified in crisis intervention.

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