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.
Contact: Lisa Lawrence