National Domestic Violence Hotline Awareness

Survey Shows Domestic Violence Services Provided in One Day in the U.S.

In the United States on September 15, 2010, three women were murdered by their intimate partners, 36 babies were born to mothers living in domestic violence shelters and 391 survivors started new jobs. Three men committed suicide – one after murdering his wife, another after a failed attempt to kill his girlfriend, and the third after holding his partner hostage and a standoff with the police. With astonishing numbers such as these, a person can’t help but wonder— how many domestic violence services are used per day in the United States?

A survey recently released by the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) reveals telling information about the status of domestic violence services in the U.S. NNEDV conducts this study once a year to provide the public with a snapshot of what family violence programs across the U.S. see in their shelters on one particular day. From those programs that participated, the survey shows how many calls local hotlines received, what services programs were able to offer and any needs that went unmet due to a lack of resources.

The study revealed that on September 15, 2010, 91 percent of identified domestic violence programs in the U.S. participated in the 2010 National Census of Domestic Violence Services. During the 24-hour period, domestic violence victim advocates served more than 70,000 adults and children and answered more than 20,000 emergency hotline calls. During the same 24 hours, more than 9,000 requests for services went unmet, largely due to lack of funding.

Though the economy does not cause domestic violence, factors associated with economic uncertainties can increase the severity and frequency of abuse. At the same time, options for survivors to escape can be more limited. More than 80 percent of local domestic violence programs reported an increased demand for their services while nearly the same number reported decreases in funding.

The full results of the National Domestic Violence Counts 2010 are available online at www.nnedv.org/census.

National Domestic Violence Hotline Awareness

Fifteen Years of Saving Lives

Fifteen years ago today, the National Domestic Violence Hotline received its first call for help from a father seeking help for his daughter who was in an abusive relationship.

Advocates answer the phone lines at The Hotline 24 hours a day, seven days a week, working tirelessly to be a source of help, comfort and hope for all victims of domestic violence. Advocates understand that every call can potentially save a life. And because many Hotline advocates have themselves been victims of domestic violence, they understand the importance of a live voice on the line and the ability of The Hotline to connect callers to life-saving resources in their own communities.

When then Senator Joseph R. Biden and Senator Orrin G. Hatch co-authored the Violence Against Women Act, they could not have imagined that the historic legislation which created a national, toll-free hotline for victims of domestic violence would have 15 years later resulted in over 2.5 million calls for help to the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

We are grateful for the many partners who understand the vital need for The Hotline to be a beacon of help and hope to every caller – the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, local family violence programs, domestic violence coalitions and the many corporate, foundation, government and individual partners who have supported us over the years. We thank you all for your past and continued support in helping to reach the millions of women, men and children who seek to live a life free from violence.

There is more to be done in raising awareness of The Hotline as a vital resource to victims, their family, friends and other caring individuals. Many celebrities, including Salma Hayek, Martina McBride and Jason Witten have joined their voices with ours to raise awareness of The Hotline as a resource. Actress Marlee Matlin is the latest member of our 15th Anniversary Honorary Committee who is helping us reach out in our public awareness campaign.

Please visit our 15 year timeline to learn more about the valuable work that has been done over the last 15 years.

The Hotline is a source of help and hope and we will be here for you.

To make a donation to The Hotline, please visit our Donate page.

Please join us on Twitter and Facebook to get involved and follow the campaign.


National Domestic Violence Hotline Blog

Tornado Warning: Author Shares Her Experience

By Elin Stebbins Waldal

If you have ever experienced a single event which later would serve as the catalyst for you to take action, then it may come as no surprise to you that I owe thanks to Stephanie Meyer, the author of The Twilight Series, because her books provided that very inspiration for me to take action in my own life.

As I sat with the closed cover of Breaking Dawn on my lap in December of 2008, it was clear a seed had been planted inside me. A seed, which soon would germinate, root, and take hold. A seed which two years later would bear fruit in a book — the telling of my story, Tornado Warning, A Memoir of Teen Dating Violence and Its Effect on a Woman’s Life.

Given Stephanie Meyer openly shares with all who visit her website that a dream served as inspiration for her first book, I think it is safe to say that she did not write the Twilight Series as a means to educate young people on the subject of teen dating.

In contrast to the dream that Meyer describes, for me, the 2,739 pages of fiction woke me up to the buried emotions left from the relationship that nearly cost me my life when I was a late teen. That experience has forever left an imprint on me. To this day, I remember what it was like to realize I had lost myself — the essence of who I had been prior to meeting that boyfriend of so many years ago.

No, he was not a vampire with fabulous looks, nor did he have a bank account that was bottomless, or the ability to materialize every time I was in danger. In fact quite the opposite was true. My boyfriend was a human being. He was average to look at, some might even say he had a kind face and sweet smile, but behind those green eyes and dimples was a storm of violence. The danger I found myself in was due to his brutal behavior. His unhappy upbringing fueled a very tortured soul; his response was to possess me. Possession that controls, possession whose power hurts, nearly kills.

Tornado Warning shares with the reader the subtle erosion of self that occurs in an abusive relationship via journal entries of the teen I was. Woven between the journal entries are reflections of my life decades later where I explore with a backward glance the well-worn path I have traveled; from strong teenage girl turned victim, to victim turned survivor, survivor turned mother, mother turned advocate.

Tornado Warning is my voice, and it joins the chorus of the many pioneers who have endured, survived, and freed themselves from the cyclone of abuse. It is now my mission to shine a ray of hope into the lives of those who have been ripped from the very base of who they were. I am living proof that victims of abuse can be survivors, capable of first reclaiming the essence of who they are, then embracing their future and a life free from violence.

About the author: Elin Stebbins Waldal is the author of Tornado Warning, A Memoir of Teen Dating Violence and Its Effect on a Woman’s Life (Sound Beach Publishing, 2011, $14.95). She is an inspirational speaker, writer, and the founder of Girls kNOw More, an organization dedicated to building confidence in middle school girls. She is also a Love Is Not Abuse Coalition California State Action Leader working to pass legislation that would require schools to teach dating violence awareness curriculum. Elin lives in Southern California with her husband Jimmy, three children, and their family dog.

Signed copies of Tornado Warning are available through her website at www.elinstebbinswaldal.com.

National Domestic Violence Hotline Awareness

1 in 4 Callers surveyed at the Hotline Report Birth Control Sabotage and Pregnancy Coercion

The Hotline recently conducted a survey of callers to learn about the extent of abuse called “reproductive coercion.” Reproductive coercion is defined as threats or acts of violence against a partner’s reproductive health or reproductive decision-making.

The survey found that 25% of the 3,169 callers who agreed to participate in the survey reported that they had experienced this form of domestic and dating violence. Callers reported that their partners would not allow them to use birth control or sabotaged their birth control method by poking holes in the condoms or flushing pills down the toilet. Some callers even reported having to hide their birth control. This type of sabotage leads to unintended pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and can be used as a trap to control their partner. These abuse patterns were apparent in callers’ comments, such as:

  • “I better be pregnant, or I’m in trouble with him.”
  • “He refuses to use a condom. I’ve bought them and he throws them out.”
  • “He has tried to talk me into having a child. He told me he wanted to keep me from leaving him.”
  • “He admitted to me and the psychologist that he intentionally got me pregnant to trap me.”
  • “My sister was 14 years old when she became involved with this abusive guy, and when she was 15 his mother wanted grandkids so he coerced her into getting pregnant.”

The survey questions and response rates were as follows:

  1. Has your partner or ex-partner ever told you not to use any birth control (like the pill, shot, ring, etc.)? – Of the 3169 callers who responded, 25% said yes.
  2. Has your partner or ex-partner ever tried to force or pressure you to become pregnant? – Of the 3166 callers who answered this question, 25% said yes.
  3. Has your partner or ex-partner ever taken off the condom during sex so that you would become pregnant? – Of the 3103 callers who responded, 16% said yes.
  4. Has your partner or ex-partner ever made you have sex without a condom so that you would become pregnant? – Of the 3130 callers who responded, 24% said yes.

As a result of this study, The Hotline is focusing on training advocates on how to identify and support callers who experience reproductive coercion.

Read our press release to find out more about the study.

announcement

1 in 4 Callers to the National Domestic Violence Hotline Report Birth Control Sabotage and Pregnancy Coercion

San Francisco, CA – What may be the first national survey to determine the extent of a form of abuse called “reproductive coercion” was released today by the National Domestic Violence Hotline and the Family Violence Prevention Fund. The survey found that 25% of callers to the National Domestic Violence Hotline reported that they had experienced this form of domestic and dating violence.

Reproductive coercion is defined as threats or acts of violence against a partner’s reproductive health or reproductive decision-making. It includes forced sex, a male partner pressuring a woman to become pregnant against her will and interference with the use of birth control. The women who reported this form of abuse said that their male partners either would not allow them to use birth control or sabotaged their birth control method (such as poking holes in condoms or flushing pills down the toilet). Some of the women said they had to hide their birth control.

“Birth control sabotage is a serious form of control that leads to unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections,“ said Family Violence Prevention Fund President Esta Soler. “While there is a cultural assumption that some women use pregnancy as a way to trap their partner in a relationship, this survey shows that men who are abusive will sabotage their partner’s birth control and pressure them to become pregnant as a way to trap or control their partner.”  (In the words of one caller, “keep me in his life forever…”)

More than 3,000 callers participated in the survey by answering all or some of four questions between August 16 and September 26, 2010. Callers’ ages ranged from 13 to over 55, with nearly 40% age 25 to 35. More than half of the callers were Caucasian, and nearly one quarter were African-American, and 17% were Hispanic. Callers who were in immediate danger were not asked to participate in the study.

For those who did participate in the study, patterns included pressure to become pregnant early in the relationship or before the victim felt ready and, in some cases, pressure to become pregnant followed by pressure to have an abortion. These abuse patterns were apparent in callers’ comments, such as:

  •  “I better be pregnant, or I’m in trouble with him.”
  • “He refuses to use a condom. I’ve bought them and he throws them out.”
  • “He has tried to talk me into having a child. He told me he wanted to keep me from leaving him.”
  • “He admitted to me and the psychologist that he intentionally got me pregnant to trap me.”
  • “My sister was 14 years old when she became involved with this abusive guy, and when she was 15 his mother wanted grandkids so he coerced her into getting pregnant.”

“Survivors of domestic violence don’t always recognize reproductive coercion as part of the power and control their partner is exerting over them in their relationship,” said National Domestic Violence Hotline Operations Manager Mikisha Hooper. “This form of abuse can be shrouded in secrecy and may be uncomfortable for people to talk about it. By asking the right questions, we help victims identify and understand the abuse – and provide the support and resources they need.”

The survey questions and response rates were as follows:

  1. Has your partner or ex-partner ever told you not to use any birth control (like the pill, shot, ring, etc.)? – Of the 3169 callers who responded, 25% said yes.
  2. Has your partner or ex-partner ever tried to force or pressure you to become pregnant? – Of the 3166 callers who answered this question, 25% said yes.
  3. Has your partner or ex-partner ever taken off the condom during sex so that you would become pregnant? – Of the 3103 callers who responded, 16% said yes.
  4. Has your partner or ex-partner ever made you have sex without a condom so that you would become pregnant? – Of the 3130 callers who responded, 24% said yes.

According to the Family Violence Prevention Fund, the rate of reproductive coercion is probably even higher than these findings showed because some callers who experienced this form of control were not included in the survey because they needed to be referred to help immediately.

The negative health consequences to reproductive coercion are clear: according to a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 40% of abused women reported that their pregnancy was unintended compared to 8% of non-abused women. Additionally, female victims of violence are three times more likely than non-victims to experience sexually transmitted infections, according to a study in the Archives of Family Medicine.

As a result of this study, the National Domestic Violence Hotline started to train its advocates on how to identify and support callers who experience reproductive coercion. “It is validating for women who are experiencing this form of abuse to know that they are not alone and that there is help available.  You can really hear the change in their voice when they realize someone understands what they’ve been through.” said Hooper.

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The National Domestic Violence Hotline was established by Congress in 1996. The Hotline is a nonprofit organization that provides crisis intervention, information and referral to victims of domestic violence, perpetrators, friends and families. The Hotline serves as the only national domestic violence hotline. Advocates receive approximately 23,500 calls each month. The Hotline is toll-free, confidential and anonymous. It operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. 1-800-799-SAFE. The Hotline is supported by funding from the US Department of Health and Human Services.

The Family Violence Prevention Fund works to end violence against women and children around the world, because every person has the right to live free of violence. More information is available at www.endabuse.org. The FVPF’s kNOwMore initiative, which examines the consequences of reproductive coercion and violence, is online at www.KnowMoreSayMore.org

CONTACT: Susan Lamontagne, 631 899-3825 or susan@publicinterestmedia.com

National Domestic Violence Hotline Blog

The Best Gift You Can Give Your Valentine is a Healthy Relationship

The most popular gifts loved ones give each other for Valentine’s day are roses, chocolates and jewelry. Yes, it is nice to get the flowers and treats, but it is also nice to know that you are in a loving and secure relationship. The best gift you can give a loved one is the gift of a healthy relationship year-round.

Here are some tips to a healthy relationship:

  • Be respectful, thoughtful and kind. This sounds simple enough but there are times when our own emotions get in the way and we take out our stress and anger on those we love.
  • Be honest and talk openly with each other if something is bothering you. If there is conflict, see if there is a compromise that suits you both.
  • Be supportive of each other’s successes and also be there for one another when things don’t go quite right.
  • Maintain your own identities and spend some time apart so that you do not become dependent on each other and isolated from friends and family.

If you’re a parent, remember that maintaining a healthy relationship is also good for your children. They mimic what they see at home so show them through your own relationship what they should look for in a partner. It is never too early to talk with your children about how to develop a healthy relationship.

Consider these goals for teaching your children about relationships:

  • Ensure they respect other people and other people’s property.
  • Show them how to address a situation that makes them angry without using violence or angry words.
  • If they have a problem with a friend, talk to them about compromises.
  • Teach them that there are consequences for our actions. Kids need to know this, even at an early age.

There is no such thing as a perfect relationship but you should strive for a healthy relationship that makes you happy and doesn’t cause you an inordinate amount of stress. Everyone deserves love, dignity and respect in their relationship.

Happy Valentine’s Day!


National Domestic Violence Hotline Awareness

New Partnership Launches Ultimate Healthy Relationship Resource

Break the Cycle and the National Dating Abuse Helpline announced today that they are joining forces to create a powerful and comprehensive online destination to engage, educate and empower teens and young adults to prevent and end abusive relationships: loveisrespect.org.

Break the Cycle has provided training, education, online resources, advocacy and activism for teens and young adults for over 15 years.  The National Dating Abuse Helpline first started taking online chats and calls in February 2007. With these two groups joining forces, teens and young adults will have one comprehensive site that gives them resources, articles, chats and all the information they need to make informed decisions about their relationships.

Loveisrespect.org posted a video that talks more about the partnership or you can read the press release for more information.

announcement

New Partnership Launches Ultimate Healthy Relationship Resource

Break the Cycle and the National Dating Abuse Helpline, the Two Most Respected Dating Violence Advocates, Join Forces to Create the Most Powerful Online Healthy-Dating Resource for Teens and Young Adults in the United States, loveisrespect.org

Feb. 8, 2011 – Break the Cycle and the National Dating Abuse Helpline, a project of the National Council on Family Violence, are joining forces to create the most comprehensive online destination to engage, educate and empower teens and young adults to prevent and end abusive relationships–loveisrespect.org.

Break the Cycle is the nation’s leading organization addressing dating abuse with more than 15 years of providing training, education, online resources, advocacy and activism. The National Dating Abuse Helpline provides the only peer-to-peer online chat in the country where trained advocates give advice to other teens and young adults.

Teen dating violence is an urgent, silent epidemic. One in three teens will experience abuse in a dating relationship and more than two-thirds of them will never report it to anyone.

“Break the Cycle’s extensive experience serving teens and young adults, in collaboration with the National Dating Abuse Helpline’s one of a kind chat service offers a new nationwide response to dating violence,” said Marjorie Gilberg, Executive Director of Break the Cycle. “This revolutionary partnership will establish loveisrespect.org as the ultimate online source of help and information for teens and young adults.”

“We are thrilled to launch this innovative partnership and project,” said Dyanne Purcell, CEO of the National Dating Abuse Helpline and the National Domestic Violence Hotline. “Partnering with Break the Cycle will broaden and enhance services and resources available for the thousands of teens and young adults who contact us at loveisrepect.org.”

A National Advisory Board composed of a diverse group of youth and culturally specific service providers will enhance the partnership by providing feedback on how to best serve teens and young adults.

Loveisrespect.org will help teens and young adults, ages 12-24 navigate the spectrum of healthy relationship behaviors. Young people will learn there are options, answers and support available to them every hour of every day. Break the Cycle and the National Dating Abuse Helpline are designing the site specifically for young people, emphasizing confidentiality and trust to ensure teens nationwide feel safe and supported – online and off.

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About National Dating Abuse Helpline

The National Council on Family Violence launched the National Dating Abuse Helpline in 2007 with funding from Liz Claiborne, Inc. and serves as an innovative source of support and resources for teens and young adults involved in abusive dating relationships, their peers, parents, teachers and friends. The Helpline offers services to young people across the country who are experiencing dating abuse and are seeking to engage in healthy relationships by utilizing the technologies they use most often: web, chat and telephone. Young men and women can anonymously contact trained peer-to-peer advocates by telephone, 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-866-331-9474 or online via live chat at www.loveisrespect.org.

About Break the Cycle

Break the Cycle believes everyone has the right to safe and healthy relationships. As the leading voice for teens on the issue of dating violence, Break the Cycle advocates for policy and legislative changes that will better protect the rights and promote the health of teens nationwide. Engaging, educating and empowering youth through prevention and intervention programs, Break the Cycle helps young people identify and build healthy relationships. For more information, please visit www.breakthecycle.org or call 310-286-3383.

Contact: Susan Risdon at 214-226-6741 or susan@redmediagroup.com