Avon Foundation For Women Pledges to Match December Donations to The National Domestic Violence Hotline For #GivingTuesday, Up to $200K

Austin, TX – November 26, 2013 — The advocates at the National Domestic Violence Hotline (NDVH) are builders. They work with callers to build safer families and homes. They help survivors build back their self-esteem after it’s been worn down from years of verbal abuse. They help build safer futures free from violence. Now, thanks to a matching donation opportunity from the Avon Foundation for Women, these builders could get a few more helping hands. During the month of December, the Avon Foundation will match donations made to NDVH up to $200,000. To highlight this extraordinary donation opportunity, NDVH employees will build a Gingerbread Hotline on December 3rd, #GivingTuesday.

Katie Ray-Jones, NDVH president said, “As a non-profit organization, we rely on the generosity of private donors and sponsors. Earlier this year, we answered the 3 millionth call to the hotline. Unfortunately, many calls go unanswered because of a lack of resources. With funds raised during this December drive, we will be able to answer more calls for help and continue our work of building better lives.”

Screen Shot 2013-11-26 at 1.25.23 PMThe matching gift from the Avon Foundation for Women will allow NDVH to create a pool of advocates who can be called upon to serve when they are needed most. Through this support, the organization will be able to staff more than 12,500 hours of advocate time for answering calls and online chats. This translates into an estimated 23,695 people served. The Avon Foundation for Women’s Speak Out Against Domestic Violence program has been a strong supporter of the hotline, giving more than $500,000 to the organization.

“The Avon Foundation’s #GivingTuesday donation aims to harness the power of our new social media campaign, #SeeTheSigns, to inspire women and men of all ages to raise awareness about a cause that is often hidden from the public eye,” said Avon Foundation for Women President Carol Kurzig. “One in every four women is a victim of domestic violence, and she may be your sister, daughter, friend or neighbor. The most meaningful gift we can give our loved ones, friends and neighbors this holiday season is a future free from violence. Every donation to the National Domestic Violence Hotline will help ensure that someone is available to answer the most important call of a victim’s life.”

When a visitor to makes a donation, he or she can select an embellishment of their choice and watch as it is attached to the Gingerbread Hotline. A pond filled with gummy fish? You’ve got it. A unicorn in the call center? Absolutely!  The NDVH conference room will be transformed into a winter wonderland where anyone can watch the building as it takes place via live video streaming. This Gingerbread Hotline build coincides with #GivingTuesday, the national campaign that harnesses the collective power of charities, families, businesses and individuals to transform how people think about, talk about and participate in the giving season.

Avon Foundation for Women and Avon Speak Out Against Domestic Violence

The Avon Foundation for Women launched Speak Out Against Domestic Violence in 2004 to support domestic violence awareness, education and prevention programs aimed at reducing domestic and gender violence, as well as direct services for victims and their families. Through 2013, the Avon Foundation for Women has donated nearly $38 million in the United States to support domestic violence programs, services and education. Globally, Avon supports efforts to end violence against women in nearly 50 countries by raising funds through special product sales and raising awareness through events and with educational information disseminated by more than 6 million global Avon Representatives. Visit for more information.


Live Chat Services Have Arrived

online-chatOn February 1996 the Hotline took its very first call.

Today, backed by more than 17 years of dedicated work, we’re proud to announce the expansion of our national Hotline services to include live online chat.

Now, in addition to calling 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) you also have the option of chatting with an advocate right here on our new, revamped website. You’ll receive the same one-on-one, real-time, confidential information from a trained advocate as you do if you call by phone.

This service is made possible by a $250,000 donation from Verizon, through its HopeLine program. Verizon has also given the hotline an opportunity to receive an additional $250,000 in matching funds through a national wireless phone drive. Learn how you can help.

What’s so great about chat?

  • If you don’t feel comfortable talking with an advocate on the phone, now you have another option for getting direct help.
  • If it’s not safe for you to call, chatting might be a better option for you.
  • It allows us to bridge devices. We know that people are accessing the Internet through their phones more and more, so now our site (and chat) can be reached via your mobile phone.

What else do you need to know?

  • You don’t need to download anything to use it — just click the chat icon.
  • This is not a public chat room — it’s a one-on-one chat session with an advocate.
  • It’s still completely confidential and anonymous.

Who Can Chat? About What?

Anyone seeking help or questioning something going on in their relationship can chat. You can ask for advice for yourself or for a friend in need. Every day we speak with victims, survivors, friends, family, coworkers, those who identify as abusive and others.

The support and assistance you’ll receive via chat is the same as what you’ll receive via telephone. Check out “What Can The Hotline Help You With?” to learn more.

If you have any questions or concerns about the service, leave a comment below. As always, your safety is most important to us and it could be helpful to remember to click out of the site when you’re done chatting and clear your online history.

Watch this video to see how to chat: 


Verizon Donates $250,000 to Launch Online Chat Service

VerizoncheckpresentingAnyone looking for information or help will now be able to chat live online with hotline advocates thanks to a $250,000 donation from Verizon, through its HopeLine program. Verizon has also given the hotline an opportunity to receive an additional $250,000 in matching funds through a national wireless phone drive.

HopeLine from Verizon collects no-longer-used cell phones and accessories in any condition from any service provider and turns them into support for domestic violence prevention organizations and local shelters in the form of cash grants, and wireless phones with text and voice service.

“Verizon leverages its technology and resources to help solve critical social issues,” said Torod Neptune, chief communications officer for Verizon Wireless.  “Partnering with the hotline to launch this online service will now provide victims with yet another way to get the help they need when they need it in the way they want it.”

Verizon has been a longtime supporter of the hotline. We are grateful for their generous gift that will extend our reach to help more victims in more ways.

To celebrate the launch of chat service and the very special visit of Vice President Joe Biden, many important Verizon team members joined us in Austin last week, including Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Alan Gardner; Executive Director of Public Affairs, Elva Lima; Vice President of External Affairs, David Russell and Vice President of Governmental Affairs, Richard Lawson. Below is a compilation of their time with us.

Consider hosting a phone drive in your community to raise phones to support the HopeLine project. Learn how.



I See DV As An Important Public Health Issue

This is our final How I See DV (#SeeDV) post to wrap up our 2013 Domestic Violence Awareness Month campaign. We are so grateful to everyone who participated and supported our efforts in October.

Today’s How I See DV perspective is written by Cora Harrington, the founder and chief editor of The Lingerie Addict. The Lingerie Addict is a fashion blog dedicated to lingerie, and has been featured on the websites for CNN, Vogue Italia, Forbes, and Time. Cora is a former domestic violence advocate, sexual assault crisis line worker, and family advocate for victims of violent crime. She currently lives and works in Seattle, WA.

coraIn the last few decades, issues affecting health, and, in particular, women’s health, have taken center stage. From Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October to American Heart Month in February, people are talking more and more about ways to get healthy and stay healthy. That’s a wonderful thing, and I’m glad these conversations are happening. But there’s still one issue that is all too often ignored in the discussion about health…and that’s domestic violence.

While anyone of any gender can be affected by intimate partner violence, 85% of domestic violence victims are women, and 1 out of 3 women in the United States will experience domestic in her lifetime. For African American women and Native American women, those percentages are shockingly higher; almost 50% of Native American women have been beaten, raped, or stalked by their partners, and intimate partner homicide is one of the leading causes of death for African American women aged 15 to 35.

More women require medical attention for domestic violence than for rape, muggings, and accidents combined, and domestic violence during pregnancy is the #1 cause of maternal mortality (maternal deaths) in America. Imagine. If we had these kinds of numbers for any other disease – heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes – people would be protesting in the streets demanding an immediate solution. But since the issue is intimate partner violence (a “personal matter” or a “domestic dispute”), the response, all too often, is just more silence.

I’m not a medical professional or a first responder, so I don’t see domestic violence on the “front lines,” so to speak. Nor am I a Domestic Violence Advocate (though I used to be). So if you’re someone like me reading this, who has a job that has nothing to do with intimate partner violence or sexual assault or the healthcare field, how is thinking of domestic violence as a public health issue possibly relevant to you?

Because a public health perspective helps to give a framework for both understanding DV and for talking with and being supportive of survivors of DV.

Sometimes, when a victim of domestic violence attempts to confide in a friend, that friend is less than supportive.  Often, victims of domestic violence are asked why they don’t “just leave,” and have to cope with people implying that enjoy or even like the violence because they’re still in the relationship. However, those kinds of statements would be unthinkable for any other health issue.

No one would ask a cancer patient if she liked having cancer because she needed time to explore treatment options, make a treatment plan, or because she chose to reject one treatment in favor of another. No one would tell a PTSD survivor that he enjoyed having PTSD because he took awhile to find a therapist, tried multiple therapists, or even stopped and started therapy more than once. No one would tell a stroke survivor that she must have enjoyed having a stroke because she was concerned about her physical limitations or because she had financial worries. So why are these assumptions okay for survivors of domestic violence, many of whom have been physically and verbally battered into physical and emotional injuries? They’re not.

I’m not saying survivors of domestic violence are sick or unwell. Nor am I encouraging others to adopt a patronizing attitude towards them. I just think it’s worth thinking of other ways to frame this problem…and its solutions. After all, you probably know someone who’s dealing with domestic violence right now.



I See DV as an LGBTQ Issue

We know that today is November 1, but really, shouldn’t every month be Domestic Violence Awareness Month? We have two more #SeeDV posts, including today’s thought-provoking piece from Tasha Amezcua and Ursula Campos-Johnson of the New York City Anti-Violence Project.

avpJulio was scared to call the police.  Last time he called, they refused to take the report.  His partner Jim’s violent tactics were escalating.  Jim made Julio feel isolated and ashamed of being gay, often reminding him of how his family kicked him out. Julio couldn’t reach out to his friends for help because all of his friends were Jim’s friends, too.  Jim told Julio he would kill him if he tried to leave.  Julio called a few domestic violence shelters.  Most turned him away because he was a man.  Finally, after many calls he was accepted to a shelter that had very little experience sheltering LGBTQ survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV).

Once in shelter Julio began attending mandatory group counseling for shelter residents.  The group’s theme was “women supporting women,” so he felt out of place.  When he finally spoke up in group about the violence he experienced, the residents mocked him.  He tried to make friends in the shelter, but was greeted with homophobic remarks by staff and fellow residents. Julio looked to his caseworker for support, but all she could offer was that he should practice empathy, since he and the residents have similar experiences.  Despite the homophobia of the residents and staff, Julio continued to attend group because he really needed the support and the shelter, and it was nearly impossible for him, a young gay man, to find another DV shelter that would accept him.

The anti-violence movement, and society at large, often make assumptions about the identities of IPV survivors.  The assumption is that women are victims of IPV and men are abusive partners.  For Julio and many LGBTQ IPV survivors, these personal biases result in institutional barriers that can lead to a survivor disengaging with services, if they are even able to receive services in the first place.  Without full access to safe IPV services, including shelters and counseling, an LGBTQ identified survivor may feel as unsafe in the shelter as in their abusive relationship.  In accessing services like shelters, many LGBTQ survivors of IPV experience secondary trauma, by service providers, shelter staff, and other shelter residents, either through overt homophobia and transphobia, or through more subtle barriers to critical services, like women-only support groups or heteronormative intakes.

The stakes for LGBTQ IPV survivors are high.  It’s often difficult to imagine the deadly reality of IPV in LGBTQ communities when we’ve been socialized to believe that all the victims are ciswomen (cis or cisgender is a term used to describe people who, for the most part, feel that their gender identity aligns with the sex they were assigned at birth.  Cis is often used as a prefix, i.e. ciswoman) and all the abusive partners are men.  So, here are the facts: IPV occurs within same sex relationships at the same rate as in heterosexual relationships, with a 25% to 33% prevalence rate.  People of color, transgender, gender non-conforming people, and young people are disproportionately affected by IPV in LGBTQ relationships.  The 2012 National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs Report on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and HIV-Affected Intimate Partner Violence found that people of color made up the majority (62.1%) of IPV survivors.  Transgender survivors were two (2.0) times as likely to face threats/intimidation within violent relationships, and nearly two (1.8) times more likely to experience harassment within violent relationships.  The 2012 report also found that youth and young adults were close to two times (1.8) as likely to face anti-LGBTQ bias in IPV tactics as compared to non-youth.

LGBTQ people are dying as a result of IPV at a higher rate than ever before.  2012 saw the highest recorded number of LGBTQ IPV homicides: 21 in 2012, 2 more than in 2011, and 15 more than in 2010.  Nearly half of LGBTQ IPV murder victims last year were gay men.

Key to reaching and providing effective support services to all survivors of violence is understanding that IPV survivors can be queer, transgender or gender non-conforming, straight or gay men, lesbian or bisexual women, or gay, lesbian, bisexual, or heterosexual transgender people.  The people who harm are as diverse in gender and sexual orientation as the survivors we serve.

At the New York City Anti Violence Project (AVP), we collaborate with many IPV/DV service providers who historically serve heterosexual cisgender women.  Making the transition to all gender and sexual orientation inclusive can seem like a daunting task.  To offer support, AVP coordinates the New York State LGBTQ Domestic Violence Network, in which AVP staff and other network members support each other toward a shared commitment to “work towards the inclusion of LGBTQ survivors of domestic and intimate partner violence, specifically regarding LGBTQ shelter access and inclusion.”

Expanding accessibility to services for LGBTQ survivors is only possible because of the legacy of the battered women’s movement, feminism, and the hard work of domestic violence service providers. This is where we came from.  This legacy opened shelters, insisted on visibility, and increased safety for many women survivors.  Now it’s time to broaden access to ALL survivors of intimate partner violence, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.  This is a call to action for all of us, but especially service providers, to shift our understanding of who can and does experience intimate partner violence.  With the reauthorization of an LGBTQ inclusive VAWA, it is time that all DV service providers realize the deep impact IPV has on all people, including LGBTQ survivors and victims.  Only when we can expand our understanding of who can be a victim or a survivor can we begin to expand our services, including shelter, to all survivors of intimate partner violence.

Please note that the National Domestic Violence Hotline works hard to find a solution for all of our callers. Please call us if you need support or help at 1-800-799-7233.

About Our Contributors

Ursula Campos-Johnson is a New York City native, mixed race Latina, and survivor of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV). Ursula has worked with LGBTQ survivors of violence for over five years. Ursula is dedicated to promoting social justice within and outside of systems for many marginalized communities, especially Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, HIV-affected (LGBTQH) survivors of IPV, and youth impacted by violence. Ursula has done this through program development, direct services, and training and education. As an Intimate Partner Violence Counselor Advocate at the New York City Anti-Violence Project (AVP), Ursula has created a unique support group model for LGBTQH survivors and victims of IPV and has lead an initiative at AVP to create a culturally competent IPV assessment model, inclusive of intersecting identities and free of assumptions around a binary understanding of gender identity. Ursula has provided workshops and trainings on intimate partner violence, sexual violence, hate violence and gender-based violence and their intersection with other forms of oppression, including poverty, sexism, heteronormativity, heteropatriarchy, and racism for service providers and community members. Ursula has presented at the Columbia School of Social Work, Columbia School of Nursing, CPS, the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter and has provided trainings to youth service providers at The Door, and Ali Forney Center. Ursula is currently an MSW candidate at Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College.

Tasha Amezcua, the Intimate Partner Violence & Sexual Violence Community Organizer in AVP’s Community Organizing and Public Advocacy department, supports coordination of statewide and local community organizing, public advocacy and policy programming related to LGBTQ intimate partner violence and sexual violence. Tasha develops and coordinates intimate partner violence and sexual violence programming and survivor-informed campaigns, conducts outreach to LGBTQ and HIV-affected communities in New York City, and develops the leadership of LGBTQ and HIV-affected community members and survivors to participate within organizing and advocacy campaigns. Tasha works to maintain and grow the work of the New York State LGBTQ Domestic Violence (DV) Network and provides technical assistance, training, and recruitment to the DV Network and serves as a liaison between AVP and the DV Network. She attended Columbia University, majoring in Women’s and Gender Studies, with a concentration in Queer Theories. Tasha, a femme-identified queer Chicana survivor of violence, is originally from Santa Ana, CA, but has called New York City her home away from home since 2003.