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The National Domestic Violence Hotline

The National Domestic Violence Hotline

The Hotline

The National Domestic Violence Hotline Focuses Week of Action on Survivors During COVID-19 (Wednesday, June 10th 2020)

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented unique challenges for domestic violence survivors, including intensified insolation and additional barriers to accessing support and resources. This past week, June 1 – June 5, 2020, The National Domestic Violence Hotline (The Hotline) held its first Week of Action to increase awareness of these challenges, and to ensure that responses to domestic violence, from the local to the federal level, center on survivors.

Amid the pandemic, The National Domestic Violence Hotline has worked diligently to continue operations and provide essential safety planning services for survivors, raise awareness of the increased risk to domestic violence survivors during this time, and enhance public education on their experiences.

“While this is the first entirely-virtual Week of Action that we have hosted, we are grateful to the Congressional staff, supporters, activists and survivors nationwide who engaged with us to understand how COVID-19 is impacting survivors’ experiences,” said Katie Ray-Jones, CEO of The National Domestic Violence Hotline. “We put the survivor at the center of everything we do. We want them and everyone advocating for them to know how extremely strong and resourceful they are. Policies that are supposed to help them should always transfer power back to survivors, allowing them to reclaim agency and make decisions that are best for them.”

On June 2, The Hotline CEO Katie Ray-Jones hosted a virtual conversation focused on the federal response to aid survivors during the pandemic. The Hotline received federal dollars through the CARES Act allowing to expand remote capacity in order to assist increased need and support specific resources for deaf and Native survivors. Ray-Jones was joined by Commissioner for the Administration of Children, Youth and Families Elizabeth Darling from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

“Survivors are facing even greater uncertainty and vulnerability. The Department of Health and Human Services is dedicated to ensuring access to lifesaving services and increasing public awareness about the unique challenges faced by survivors of domestic violence in this time,” said Commissioner Elizabeth Darling. “We are proud to partner with the National Domestic Violence Hotline to advocate for resources that support survivors and empower communities to effectively address domestic violence and intimate partner violence.”   

On June 3, The Hotline also organized a webinar “COVID-19 and Beyond: Intersectionality and the Future of Policymaking and Advocacy” to raise awareness on how necessary it is to use a prism of intersectionality in the policymaking process to better address the needs of marginalized communities. The webinar featured community experts in conversation.

Full recordings of these webinars will be published soon and are available upon request.

“Survivors of violence from underserved and marginalized communities have been left particularly vulnerable and the multiple barriers they face have gotten harder to surmount because of the pandemic,” said Ray-Jones. “Effective policymaking and advocacy must seek to address and rectify harm brought onto marginalized communities, during the recovery from the pandemic and beyond.”

This year’s Week of Action also coincided with the release of The Hotline’s annual Impact Report, detailing The Hotline’s work in 2019, including call, chat and text volume, most commonly used resources and referrals, and an overview of the circumstances facing those who contacted The Hotline. The full report can be read here.      

In addition to the two virtual events, The Hotline organized a Twitter storm to drive up awareness of domestic violence and the needs of survivors online and conducted online advocacy aimed at securing Senate passage of the HEROES Act.

The HEROES Act, which passed the House of Representatives, and is now before the Senate, builds upon earlier emergency funding in the CARES Act and includes critical provisions in support of survivors of sexual and domestic violence as well as the programs that serve them.

In the CARES Act, The Hotline received $2 million to ensure critical, ongoing services to survivors that reach out for support, resources, and safety planning during this time of heightened risk due to the COVID-19 health crisis. The CARES Act funding also included an allocation for StrongHearts Native Helpline. In addition to this, The Hotline will also be supporting the Abused Deaf Women’s Advocacy Services (ADWAS) through its CARES Act allocation.

If you have any questions about The Hotline’s work during the COVID-19 pandemic, or about the Week of Action specifically, please contact the media team at Thehotline@westendstrategy.com or (202) 713-5503.

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A Snapshot of Domestic Violence During COVID-19 (Friday, June 5th 2020)

We know that any external factors that add stress, isolation, and financial strain can create circumstances where a survivor’s safety is further compromised. The COVID-19 pandemic has elements of all three of these external factors. Even more concerning, shelter-in-place orders meant that many would be in closer and more frequent proximity to their abusers. We outlined more of the unique impact that COVID-19 has on domestic violence victims and survivors in our blog here.

On March 16, 2020, we began collecting data to track exactly what impact COVID-19 had on those affected by relationship abuse. During the first two months of the pandemic, here’s what we found (you can also download the full report here):

While it was slow at first, our contact volume did increase by 9% compared to the same period in 2019.

Illustration of a diverse group of people

We knew that survivors would likely feel less safe reaching out for support because of being in such close proximity to their abusive partner. During the month of March 2020, our contact volume decreased by 6% compared to March 2019. A decrease in our contact volume is rare, but this didn’t surprise us – this pandemic put up unique barriers for survivors to access support safely.

As shelter-in-place orders began to lift throughout the country, our contact volume in April 2020 increased by 15% as compared to April 2019. Along with many other providers in the intimate partner violence space, we expect to see an unprecedented number of survivors reporting abuse and seeking support in the coming months. Even when the major threat of this pandemic is over, there will be long-term effects on the health and safety of survivors – and we must prioritize their safety and their needs.

Roughly 10% of all contacts cited COVID-19 as a condition of their experience.

By citing COVID-19 as a condition of their experience, this means a contact noted COVID-19 impacted their situation – whether that means an abuser was using COVID-19 to further control and abuse, or if a resource, like a shelter, was unavailable due to COVID-19. In some cases, sadly it was both.

Contacts usually cite two or more types of abuse in their individual situations, and COVID-19 was no exception to that. 90% of all contacts answered reported experiencing emotional or verbal abuse, where their abuser used threats, intimidation, or humiliation to gain power and control. 24% of all contacts reported economic or financial abuse in their situation – this is also something that may increase in the face of growing unemployment and the long-term economic challenges as a result.

Contacts told our Advocates powerful stories from their experiences. One caller had tested positive for COVID-19, and the abuser was keeping them from contacting family and threatening them with deportation. To see someone’s health and immigration status weaponized shows that an abusive partner will use anything they can to isolate and control. We know that isolation is one of the strongest tactics an abuser can use.

During this time of great uncertainty, one of the most important services our Advocates offer is personalized safety planning. This could not be more critical during this two-month period as survivors navigated shelter-in-place and reduced local domestic violence support services because of social distancing.

The effects of this pandemic is far from over for survivors – and here’s how you can help.

Many of us feel isolated and fearful right now, and that’s understandable – these feelings are amplified for domestic violence survivors. One way to help survivors is by cultivating hope and focusing on things they can control. This means encouraging the survivor in your life to practice some form of self-care, which could look like regular exercise, video calls with loved ones, or even spending increased time in the shower to have more time away from their abuser.

Building community around a survivor is so critical right now. If you know a survivor, or if you suspect someone in your neighborhood is experiencing concerning behaviors in their relationship, now is a great time to connect with them. Check to see if you can be a part of their safety plan by scheduling a regular phone call, video conversation, or an emergency text system.

Don’t know a survivor, but still want to help? Help us spread the message that hope is available by sharing our COVID-19 report on social media (make sure to tag our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram when sharing!).

You can also get involved in our policy advocacy work – sign up for our action center here.

And for any victims and survivors who need support reading this, we are here for you, 24/7. Call 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224 for TTY, or if you’re unable to speak safely, you can chat at thehotline.org or text LOVEIS to 1-866-331-9474.

You are not alone.

Find our special edition COVID-19 report here.

The post A Snapshot of Domestic Violence During COVID-19 appeared first on The National Domestic Violence Hotline.

The Hotline Welcomes the Passage of the HEROES Act in the House, Urges Senate to Follow Suit (Tuesday, May 26th 2020)

The Hotline Welcomes the Passage of the HEROES Act in the House, Urges Senate to Follow Suit

Critical funding for survivors of domestic violence was included in the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act which passed the U.S. House of Representatives late last week, the fifth piece of federal legislation to address emergency relief related to COVID-19. The National Domestic Violence Hotline (“The Hotline”) welcomes the House’s passage of The HEROES Act, which includes $50 million to Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) funded programs that provide emergency housing and shelter to domestic violence survivors across the country. The bill also includes $2 million for The Hotline to ensure critical, ongoing services to survivors that reach out for support, resources, and safety planning during this time of heightened risk due to the COVID-19 health crisis.

“As stay-at-home orders lift and the long-term effects of the pandemic are felt, we expect to see a sustained increase in survivors needing support,” said Katie Ray-Jones, CEO of The Hotline. “This funding will ensure that when survivors contact us, our advocates will be there to provide validation, resources and safety planning to enable them to make decisions for a safer future. We are glad to see the House recognize this real and urgent need and ask the Senate to deliver on this support.”

At this time, The Hotline is beginning to see an increase in contact volume as stay-at-home orders are scaled back. Incoming contact volume in April was 15% higher compared to April of 2019. The Hotline also received emergency funding in the CARES Act, the fourth COVID19 related-emergency package, and is thankful for additional funds the HEROES Act would provide in order to meet the increasing needs of survivors reaching out for support. The CARES Act funding also included an allocation for StrongHearts Native Helpline. In addition to this, The Hotline will also be supporting the Abused Deaf Women’s Advocacy Services (ADWAS). through its CARES Act allocation.

The HEROES Act builds upon the CARES Act and includes critical provisions in support of survivors of sexual and domestic violence as well as the programs that serve them, including but not limited to:

  • $50 million for FVPSA funded programs,
  • $2 million for The Hotline,
  • $200 billion for essential workers including sexual and domestic violence advocates to access hazard pay,
  • $100 million to VAWA grant programs,
  • And key provisions for immigrant survivors such as expanding access to stimulus checks for non-citizen taxpayers and temporarily extending work authorizations and immigration status.

The Hotline commends Congress for its actions and continues to ask for more adequate provisions for survivors who are members of under-served, culturally specific, immigrant, and Native communities. We also continue to urge Congress to address the needs of sexual violence survivors who are in dire need of increased funding and support.

The post The Hotline Welcomes the Passage of the HEROES Act in the House, Urges Senate to Follow Suit appeared first on The National Domestic Violence Hotline.

The Hotline Commends Passage of the CARES Act (Tuesday, March 31st 2020)

The Hotline Commends Passage of the CARES Act

Urges Congress to Prioritize Needs of Survivors of Sexual & Domestic Violence in Fourth Stimulus Package

The National Domestic Violence Hotline (“The Hotline”) commends the passage of the Coronavirus Aide, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act (S.3548). The CARES Act includes $45 million to the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) funded programs that provide emergency housing and shelter to domestic violence survivors across the country. It also includes funds for The Hotline to ensure critical, ongoing services to survivors that reach out for support, resources, and safety planning during this time of heightened risk due to the COVID-19 health crisis.

“We’re hearing every day from survivors and their loved ones about how COVID-19 is already being used by abusive partners to further control and abuse,” said Katie Ray-Jones, Chief Executive Officer of The Hotline. “We know that any external factors that add stress and financial strain can create circumstances where a survivor’s safety is further compromised. Sheltering in place with one’s abuser makes this experience even more dangerous. Our advocates are providing critical safety planning and resources for instances such as this. We know that survivors are extremely strong and resourceful, and we will do all we can to transfer power back to them so they can make informed decisions on what is best for them.”

The CARES Act does not include any sexual assault programming, nor does it include VAWA-funded programs. The Hotline strongly urges Congress to ensure that the next stimulus package expand comprehensive support for programs that provide critical services to sexual violence and domestic violence survivors, such as those outlined in this letter to Congress signed by over 100 organizations nationwide.

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Staying Safe During COVID-19 (Friday, March 13th 2020)

Avoiding public spaces and working remotely can help to reduce the spread of COVID-19, but for many survivors, staying home may not be the safest option. We know that any external factors that add stress and financial strain can negatively impact survivors and create circumstances where their safety is further compromised.

Abuse is about power and control. When survivors are forced to stay in the home or in close proximity to their abuser more frequently, an abuser can use any tool to exert control over their victim, including a national health concern such as COVID-19. In a time where companies may be encouraging that their employees work remotely, and the CDC is encouraging “social distancing,” an abuser may take advantage of an already stressful situation to gain more control.

Here’s how COVID-19 could uniquely impact intimate partner violence survivors:

  • Abusive partners may withhold necessary items, such as hand sanitizer or disinfectants.
  • Abusive partners may share misinformation about the pandemic to control or frighten survivors, or to prevent them from seeking appropriate medical attention if they have symptoms.
  • Abusive partners may withhold insurance cards, threaten to cancel insurance, or prevent survivors from seeking medical attention if they need it.
  • Programs that serve survivors may be significantly impacted –- shelters may be full or may even stop intakes altogether. Survivors may also fear entering shelter because of being in close quarters with groups of people.
  • Survivors who are older or have chronic heart or lung conditions may be at increased risk in public places where they would typically get support, like shelters, counseling centers, or courthouses.
  • Travel restrictions may impact a survivor’s escape or safety plan – it may not be safe for them to use public transportation or to fly.
  • An abusive partner may feel more justified and escalate their isolation tactics.

Here’s what our Advocates have heard from some survivors reaching out:

  • “A chatter mentioned that the abuser was using the virus as a scare tactic to keep the survivor away from their kids.”
  • A chatter said the abuser was using COVID-19 as a scare tactic so that they would not visit family.”
  • “A health professional still living with their abuser called and said they were physically abused that night because their abuser was sure they were trying to infect them with COVID-19.

If any of the above sound like they may be happening to you or someone you love, here are a few suggestions for survivors that may make this uncertain time feel a little bit safer:

Create a safety plan.

A safety plan is a personalized, practical plan that includes ways to remain safe while in a relationship, planning to leave, or after you leave. Here at The Hotline, we safety plan with victims, friends, family members, and anyone who is concerned about their own safety or the safety of someone else.

You and your partner may be told by either or both of your employers to work remotely to limit social interaction. Having a safety plan laid out can help you to protect yourself during this stressful time. You can learn more about safety plans here, and you can find an interactive guide to safety planning here.

Because there may be limited shelter availability due to COVID-19, consider alternatives such as staying with family or friends, staying in motels, or sleeping in your vehicle. Be extra mindful of good hygiene practices if you’re leaving as well – wash your hands regularly, avoid touching your face, minimize contact with surfaces that other people have had contact with, etc.

Practice self-care.

COVID-19 is causing uncertainty for many people, but getting through this time while experiencing abuse can feel really overwhelming. Taking time for your health and wellness can make a big difference in how you feel. To learn more about how to build in self-care while staying safe, you can learn more here.

If you’re a friend or family member of someone experiencing abuse, you may not be able to visit them in person if you live in an area where there are COVID-19 cases. Seeing someone you care about being hurt is stressful. Remind yourself that you can’t make decisions for someone else, but you can encourage your loved one to think about their wellbeing, safety plan and practice self-care while they are in their home.

Reach out for help.

While people are encouraged to stay at home, you may feel isolated from your friends and family. Even if you are isolated, try to maintain social connections online or over the phone, if it is safe to do so, and try to stick to your daily routines as much as possible.

For any victims and survivors who need support, we are here for you, 24/7. Call 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224 for TTY, or if you’re unable to speak safely, you can log onto thehotline.org or text LOVEIS to 22522.

Para información en español, visita la página “En Español.”

You are not alone.

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A Deeper Look Into Gaslighting (Friday, November 22nd 2019)

What is gaslighting? Gaslighting is when your emotions, words, and experiences are twisted and used against you, causing you to question your reality. This can be a very effective form of emotional abuse, because once an abusive partner has broken down your ability to trust your own perspective, you may be more vulnerable to the effects of abuse, making it more difficult to leave the abusive relationship.

We’ve talked about the types of gaslighting techniques, and the signs to look out for, but what does it look like in a real situation? How can one stay safe in this situation or work to prove that what happened, happened?

Here is an example of a survivor’s story, who shared what it was like to experience the abuse of gaslighting. This story is especially powerful because it blends emotional, digital, sexual, financial, and physical abuse:

“I don’t know what’s real anymore. I saw him hit me, and I try to talk to him about it, but he tells me that it never happened. The bruise I got I thought came from him, but he told me I fell down. But how did I fall down? I thought I saw exactly what happened. I ask him about it again, but he says, ‘You fell down, I saw you fall down. I would never hit you that hard. You’re crazy, it’s all in your head.’ I started doubting my sanity. I really thought I saw him raise his fist…”*

*While this story uses he/his/him pronouns, anyone is capable of abuse, and anyone can be the victim of it

It’s important to note that gaslighting may not happen right away. It can happen very gradually in a relationship. After experiencing these abusive patterns, you can find yourself feeling more confused, anxious, isolated, and could lose all sense of what is actually happening.

Once you’ve recognized the gaslighting, what can you do?

Here are a few ways to combat gaslighting:

Proof

Since gaslighting can make it difficult to feel like you truly remember what happened, it can be helpful to keep proof of the incident(s) so you can rely more on the evidence. Here are some examples of what proof you can document:

  • Keep a journal — Every time you encounter something, write it down in a secret journal your partner doesn’t know about. Write down the date, time, and what happened.
  • Speak to a trusted friend or family member — If you have a trusted friend or family member, telling them what happened or talking out what happened can help you clear your head, and someone else will know what is going on.
  • Keep voice memos — If the abusive partner doesn’t have access to your phone, escape to a room by yourself and record yourself speaking with your phone on what just happened. If your phone isn’t a secret, tape recorders will still record sounds, and you can hide those tapes away.
  • Take pictures — If the abuser doesn’t have access to your phone, take pictures of what happened to you, your child, your pet, or your stuff. The pictures will have a date and time on them in your photo gallery. If your phone isn’t a secret, you can buy a cheap disposable camera at discount stores, and hide the film from your partner.
  • Email — Send your experience, voice memos, pictures, or videos to a trusted friend or family member for safekeeping.

Why do you need this proof? First and foremost, evidence of what occurred can help with your mental health. Recovering from gaslighting that you experienced, for weeks, months, even years, can be difficult to do; seeing proof that it happened, validates your experience, challenges the effects of your partner’s abuse, and can help you determine reality. Proof can also be useful when taking legal action* against the abuser.

*Make sure to check your state’s recording laws before you present the proof in court

No matter the form of documentation, always keep your proof safe and secure by hiding it or sending it to someone you trust. If you are afraid that the proof may be found by your partner in your hiding spot or on your phone, send it to a safe location or a friend and destroy/delete the copies you have. If you have questions, please reach out to an Advocate about ways to document proof while staying safe.

Safety Planning

While documenting your proof, safety planning is also a great way to recognize and heal from gaslighting.

A safety plan is a personalized plan that includes ways to remain safe while in a relationship, planning to leave, or after you leave. It involves how to cope with emotions, tell friends and family about the abuse, take legal action, and more.

The more isolated you are from friends and family; the more effective gaslighting can feel. When you are completely isolated from anyone else, you may find yourself relying on your abusive partner to define reality, which creates a very difficult situation to escape.

One way to safety plan against isolation is speaking with a trusted friend or family member. We know that this can be very difficult to do while in an abusive relationship. One thing you could consider is prefacing your conversation with something like, “I don’t have a lot of options right now, and I feel like my partner may be gaslighting me and I want to be able to talk to someone and process what is actually happening,” or “I know that this isn’t a situation I want to stay in nor is safe for me, but for right now one of the things I know my partner is doing is gaslighting me.” Talk about what happened actually happened to get your experience validated. For people who care about you, it can be difficult to learn what is happening.

If you are planning to leave your relationship, make a plan for how and where you will escape quickly. If you do have to leave in a hurry, make sure you take your documented proof of gaslighting with you, and this list of important items.

Another way to safety plan after leaving a relationship is to reach out to a local domestic violence program or join a support group. There, you can talk to each other and share experiences with others who were in a similar situation. Gaslighting is a way that abusive partners minimize and/or dismiss what they did, so talking it out with others will validate your experience and recognize that what the abuser did is not ok, and it is emotionally abusive.

Self-care

Combating gaslighting also involves self-care. Whether you’re still in the abusive relationship or after you’ve left, healing your mind is an important step. To put it simply, self-care is really about taking care of yourself in ways that feel best to you and bring you comfort.

Self-care may mean taking a moment to think and process happened to you, which can look like working hard to not accept responsibility for their behaviors. You can practice recognizing when your partner is trying to manipulate the situation, by blame-shifting and putting the problem on you. Abusive partners shape the narrative the way they want it. They want you to think you caused it, but you didn’t (“If you hadn’t done this, I wouldn’t have done that.”).

You don’t have to argue about the truth with your partner, you’ll waste energy trying to convince them. Know your truth — there’s no use in trying to convince them. They are denying your reality for a reason and can end up arguing with someone who is refusing to accept responsibility for their behaviors.

Practice trusting your instincts. Give yourself permission to trust your feelings, your thoughts, decisions, and intuition; know that what you felt was true, and you do not need to convince anybody of it. Listen to what your gut is telling you. It can take some concerted effort to remember how to trust your gut after experiencing gaslighting for a while. Have patience with your own process.

You could also try to seek therapy, preferably someone with a domestic violence background. Gaslighting can lead to paranoid thoughts and affect your mental health long term, so seek support if you recognize that gaslighting has been happening.


In order to overcome this type of abuse, it is important to recognize the signs, and trust yourself again. If this situation sounds familiar to you, or you are questioning what’s happening in your relationship, reach out to an advocate. They are here to support you 24/7/365. Reach out by calling 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or 1-800-787-3224 TTY, or chat online by clicking the purple “Chat Now” button at the top of the screen.

Remember— you are not alone!

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Celebrating FVPSA’s 35th Anniversary At The National Domestic Violence Hotline (Wednesday, October 9th 2019)

It’s fall, the leaves are changing colors, and we’re feeling nostalgic at the National Domestic Violence Hotline (The Hotline). We just answered our 5 millionth contact earlier this year, and while this number is a bittersweet reminder of how prevalent domestic violence is, we’re thankful to be able to provide resources and support to survivors and their loved ones every single day.

You may not know this, but 35 years ago, the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) was passed and implemented, creating what is now the primary federal funding source for domestic violence programs across the country. These programs provide emergency shelter, housing, and other supportive services for survivors and their children.

With thousands of programs funded through FVPSA, this bill has had a significant impact on meeting the critical needs of survivors as they seek a better future. FVPSA also supports our work at The Hotline, enabling us to answer the call to support people affected by relationship abuse for nearly 25 years. As we look forward to the new year and all the challenges and opportunities it brings, we wanted to take some time to pause and reflect on the past 35 years of FVPSA and all that it has done to enhance the experiences of survivors as they reach out to The Hotline for support, resources, and navigate the often complicated systems in place in order to stay safe from continued abuse.

While FVPSA first passed in 1984, The Hotline didn’t actually exist till much later. The passage of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in 1994 led to the creation of The Hotline, and, for the first time ever, survivors from across the country could call our confidential, free, national hotline to get support and resources for the abuse they were experiencing. The incredible impact of this has never been lost on us, and we never take for granted that 24 years ago, calling a free, confidential hotline to get help wasn’t an option for many survivors.

Today, we not only answer phone calls from survivors and their loved ones, but are also able to provide support through digital chat and text. In addition to this, we also have a program focused on prevention called loveisrespect, helping young folks understand the dynamics of healthy relationships and identify what dating violence looks like through resources and language that is palatable to them.

Every year, we’ve seen a steady growth in contact volume by about 10%, which is likely credited to more folks learning about our services and feeling safe to reach out for support. In 2018, we experienced our highest contacts ever received in our history with 573,670 contacts – a 39% increase from the previous year. Most folks that reach out to us identify as female, accounting for 87% of our contact volume.

We’ve seen a significant increase in folks utilizing chat services since it became available in 2013, and in 2018, we experienced the largest growth in our history of offering digital chat with a 147% increase over the previous year. And, in an effort to accurately identify those that reach out to us, we updated our gender data gather in 2015 to include contacts that identify as non-binary, trans female, trans male and others. Individuals that report identifying as non-binary have increased over 220% in the past year, with similar trends for folks identifying as trans male and trans female.

Answering our 5 millionth call was a reminder to us that the work to end domestic violence is nowhere near done, but we’re hopeful that one day we will have a world where all relationships are positive, healthy and free from violence. And, while that end may not be on the immediate horizon, we know that we’ll be able to be there when survivors reach out every single day because of the incredible support of FVPSA. Happy 35th FVPSA!

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The What, Why, and How of DVAM (Thursday, September 26th 2019)

Domestic violence (also called intimate partner violence, domestic abuse, or relationship abuse) is a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship. It can happen to anyone at any point in a relationship. Domestic violence includes behaviors that physically harm, cause fear, prevent a partner from doing what they wish, or force them to behave in ways they do not want. This October, like everyone so far, we are bringing awareness to domestic violence through the #1Thing campaign and celebrating DVAM.

What is DVAM?

Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) is held throughout the month of October as a way to bring advocates across the nation together to end domestic violence. Communities and advocacy organizations across the country will connect with one another in a true sense of unity to end domestic violence for good.

Why DVAM?

DVAM is a chance for anyone and everyone – victims, survivors, advocates, supporters, and political leaders – to unite in our work to end domestic violence. This is a time of solidarity and support, and a time for victims and survivors to share their stories.

With so many people speaking in a unified voice during the month of October about domestic violence, this raises our collective awareness about this critical issue. Only through collaboration will it be possible to end domestic violence.

How to get involved in DVAM

We encourage everyone to get involved and help raise awareness about domestic violence every October. We recognize the power that each one of us has in making a difference.

This year, we are participating in the Domestic Violence Awareness Project’s #1Thing campaign. Change can start with only #1Thing. One person’s actions may seem insignificant, but together a communities’ collective “#1Things” can lead to real social transformation.

Follow our social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, tag us in your post and use the hashtag #1Thing to show your #1Thing that will end domestic violence.

What is your #1Thing you want everyone to know about domestic abuse?

What is your #1Thing you want all survivors of domestic abuse to know?

What #1Thing are you doing to show support for survivors?

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Statement by Katie Ray-Jones, CEO of the National Domestic Violence Hotline on Mass Violence in Dayton and El Paso (Monday, August 5th 2019)

The National Domestic Violence Hotline is devastated by the back-to-back acts of violence that have occurred in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas. We extend our deepest condolences to the loved ones of the victims of these mass shootings, and we urge Congress to take bold actions to prevent future incidents of mass violence.

Attacks like these are often fueled by xenophobia and are part of a larger, global narrative of violence rooted in white nationalism focused on targeting marginalized communities. The dangerous rhetoric used towards these communities is fueling violence — and it must stop.

The Hotline is no stranger to understanding the dangers of gun violence. We know that the presence of a gun in a home increases the risk of homicide for women by 500 percent. Research shows that previous abuse in a relationship is the greatest determining factor in murder/suicides. And we know that mass shooters often have a history of violence against women, ranging from domestic violence to stalking to gendered harassment. The Hotline calls for immediate, comprehensive action to curb gun violence: we need to ban militarized weapons, close the ‘boyfriend’ loophole and keep guns out of the hands of all abusers, and direct funds to gun violence prevention efforts in the communities most impacted by violence.

The world we envision is one where all relationships are free from violence. We cannot move towards that vision without urgent, tangible action from our Members of Congress. We urge you to do the right thing and act immediately.

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Statement from Katie Ray-Jones: Introduction of FVPSA 2019 (Friday, July 26th 2019)

“The National Domestic Violence Hotline (The Hotline) and its dating abuse, prevention, and education project for youth, loveisrespect, is authorized through the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA). For more than 21 years, FVPSA has provided critical funding that has allowed us to answer more than five million calls, texts, and chats from people affected by intimate partner violence,” said Katie Ray-Jones, chief executive officer of The Hotline. “Millions of survivors depend on our organization for resources and support, and the successful reauthorization of FVPSA with key improvements will ensure that we are able to continue to provide this life-saving support to survivors. We commend Sen. Casey and Sen. Murkowski for their continued commitment to all survivors through the introduction of the bipartisan Family Violence Prevention and Services Improvements Act of 2019.”

FVPSA is the nation’s only dedicated source of funding for domestic violence shelters and provides critical support for shelters, coalitions, training and technical assistance centers, children’s services, emergency response hotlines, and prevention initiatives. The Family Violence Prevention and Services Improvements Act of 2019 expands grant programs and makes many needed improvements such as updated provisions for The Hotline and expanded services for underrepresented populations, including American Indians, Alaskan Natives, and Deaf victims of domestic and dating violence. These updates ensure that more survivors have access to support and safety.

Domestic violence affects one in four women and one in seven men1. In A YEAR OF IMPACT: National Domestic Violence Hotline and loveisrespect the organization reports it received 573,670 contacts, more than in any other year since the organization’s inception.

Types of domestic violence and dating abuse most discussed in 2018 include:

•    Emotional Abuse: 88% (up 2% from 2017)

•    Physical Abuse: 60% (no change from 2017)

•    Financial Abuse: 24% (up 2% from 2017)

•    Digital Abuse: 15% (up 3% from 2017)

•    Sexual Abuse: 11% (up 1% from 2017)

About The National Domestic Violence Hotline

The Hotline is the only national organization providing services 24/7/365 via phone, chat, and text, helping those affected by relationship violence find the support and safety they deserve. We also focus on the prevention of abuse through loveisrespect, our healthy relationships platform that engages, educates, and empowers young people to prevent and end abusive relationships. The Hotline and loveisrespect are free and confidential and available for anyone who is affected by abuse.  The organization has the most comprehensive resource database in the country, with access to 4,800 service providers and resources in the U.S., U.S. territories, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam.

The National Domestic Violence 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 90EV0426 from the Family and Youth Services Bureau, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). 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.

For more information visit www.thehotline.org.

For questions or to arrange a media interview with Katie Ray-Jones contact Liz Bradford, hotline.media@ndvh.org, 214-202-8830.

¹ Black, M.C., Basile, K.C., Breiding, M.J., Smith, S.G., Walters, M.L., Merrick, M.T., Chen, J., & Stevens, M.R. (2011). The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS): 2010 Summary Report. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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