immigration

Supporting All Survivors on International Women’s Day

By Katie Ray-Jones, CEO. Originally published on Huffington Post.

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, it’s important to remember that ALL women deserve support and safety, regardless of race, religion, country of origin or immigration status.

In 2000, Congress created the U and T visa programs as part of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization to “strengthen the ability of law enforcement agencies to detect, investigate, and prosecute cases of domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking…and other crimes…committed against aliens, while offering protection to victims of such offenses in keeping with the humanitarian interests of the United States.”*

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StrongHearts Native Helpline Launches Today

For the first time in history, a culturally-relevant, safe and confidential resource is available for Native American survivors of domestic violence and dating violence, who now make up more than 84 percent of the entire U.S. Native population. The National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC) and The Hotline have launched the first, national crisis line dedicated to serving tribal communities affected by violence across the U.S., called the StrongHearts Native Helpline.

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immigration

We Stand with Immigrants

By Katie Ray-Jones, CEO. Originally published at Huffington Post.

immigrationOver the last 24 hours, we’ve all heard reports that officers from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested an undocumented woman in El Paso, Texas, who had just received a protective order against her abusive partner. According to reports, ICE officers followed the woman into the hallway after her hearing, and appear to have been acting on a tip from her abusive partner as to her whereabouts.

This arrest sets a dangerous precedent and creates a chilling effect for all immigrant survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, further marginalizing them as they consider turning to law enforcement or the courts for help. Furthermore, it undermines protections in the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) that protect the confidentiality of immigrant victims and prevent ICE from engaging in enforcement activities in sensitive locations, such as a courthouse where a victim is seeking an order of protection.

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dvinthenews

Dear Friends: We’re Still Here

By Katie Ray-Jones, CEO of The Hotline

What a week and year we have had. Today, I am reminded that the fate of victims and survivors of relationship abuse does not depend on one person or one election. Real change happens when we have the courage to reach out to one another. When we have the courage to say, “I need help,” to someone else. When we realize that we can only go so far alone, but together we can go even further.

Domestic violence knows no party lines. It does not discriminate against age, gender, income or status. It touches all of us.

In 1994, the bipartisan Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) acknowledged these facts. VAWA created what we now know today as the National Domestic Violence Hotline. When we work together, we are able to achieve so much more for victims and survivors. Let us all remember this.

Read the full post on Medium.

4M-blog

4 Million Voices: Giving Hope to Survivors of Domestic Violence

by Katie Ray-Jones, CEO

 

This month, The Hotline answered its four millionth contact, which is one of four million conversations that our advocates have had with victims and survivors of domestic violence in need over the last 20 years. From my perspective, that number represents a large population of people hurting, and it reinforces that there is still work to be done. On the other hand, that number also represents the courage of so many people seeking help and resources.

To commemorate this milestone, we created the audio piece embedded in this post. You’ll hear examples of stories our advocates hear on a daily basis, representing the difficult realities of millions of people in our communities, and the hope we provide when they courageously choose to reach out.

Read the full post on Medium.

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Promoting Women’s Safety & Empowerment at the United State of Women Summit

Contributed by Lynn Rosenthal, vice president of strategic partnerships

Imagine 5,000 women and supportive men gathered in Washington, DC to celebrate the progress women have made and explore the challenges yet to come. That was the intense energy at last week’s United State of Women Summit convened by the White House Council on Women and Girls. Headlined by President Obama and Vice President Biden, the summit covered key gender equity issues including gender-based violence, women and the economy, entrepreneurship and innovation, and women’s leadership and civic engagement. Rob Valente, The Hotline’s chief officer of government affairs, and I represented The Hotline in both planning and presenting at the summit.

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Photograph of football player Brandon Marshall with his mother Barbara standing next to each other with their hands on a silver football helmet

Support Moms & Families with Barbara & Brandon Marshall

Barbara Marshall, mom of Denver Broncos linebacker and Super Bowl champion Brandon Marshall, knows how devastating domestic violence can be.

When Brandon was 10 years old, his father was arrested for domestic violence. He and his older brother, Marcus, lived with Barbara in a shelter for 26 days. She worked two jobs to support them. It was a difficult time, and Barbara says she couldn’t have persevered without the love and support of her family, particularly her father and her brothers. “Family is important to me. That’s what helped me and my boys get through,” she says.

Brandon, Barbara and Marcus Marshall

Brandon, Barbara and Marcus Marshall

However, Barbara knows that not everyone has that kind of support. “There’s a stigma,” Barbara says of domestic violence. “So many of us feel ashamed. I just want to tell people, don’t give up. It might seem dark, but you can get through it. There’s hope.”

Brandon Marshall

She and Brandon recognize organizations like The Hotline that serve victims and survivors, many of whom are mothers, every day. “It gives women a voice and a chance to seek help when they feel they have nowhere else to turn,” says Barbara. “It can save lives!”

This Mother’s Day, please support mothers and families across the country by making a gift to The Hotline.

Click here to make your gift and choose a unique Mother’s Day e-card to send to a special mom in your life!

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The Hotline Receives National Crime Victim Service Award

Today, the U.S. Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) announced that the National Domestic Violence Hotline is receiving a National Crime Victim Service Award. This award recognizes individuals and organizations from across the nation that are leading efforts to advance victim services and victims’ rights.

Hotline CEO Katie Ray-Jones was in Washington, DC to accept the award on behalf of the more than 200 staff members who work every day to shift power back to those affected by relationship abuse. “We do this work for the survivor who told an advocate, ‘I have been afraid to ask for help for 16 years. This is the first time I have reached out…It gives me hope I never thought could be.’ We do this work so that someone is there the first time and every time a person reaches out for support,” she said.

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From left to right: Joye E. Frost, Director, Office for Victims of Crime; Karol V. Mason, Assistant Attorney General, Office of Justice Programs; Loretta E. Lynch, Attorney General of the United States; Katie Ray-Jones, CEO of the National Domestic Violence Hotline

The Hotline, which is commemorating 20 years of service this year, operates as a 24/7 lifeline for victims and survivors of domestic violence nationwide. Since 1996, we have answered over 3.8 million calls, chats and texts from those seeking support, resources and hope. In 2015, The Hotline opened an office in Washington, DC, to expand our digital services capabilities and establish a base from which to advocate for policies that protect and support survivors. We continue to explore innovative ways to increase our outreach, particularly to underserved communities.

The Hotline would like to congratulate our fellow 2016 award winners and express our deepest thanks to the Office for Victims of Crime for their ongoing support and recognition. Together, we will continue to work toward a world where all relationships are positive, healthy and free from violence.

Watch the OVC’s tribute video for The Hotline:

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The Hotline Commemorates 20 Years of Service

quote1In February 1996, The Hotline answered its first call from a woman seeking resources and information about domestic violence. Twenty years later, we have answered more than 3.5 million calls, chats and text messages from people affected by abuse. This year we are on track to receive our 4 millionth call, a milestone that serves as a reminder of how far we’ve come and how much work is left to do.

Though we are ready to face our future, this month we are reflecting on what we have accomplished over the past two decades:

Twenty years ago, a phone call was the only option for reaching The Hotline. Today, technology has created opportunities to develop our services in the evolving digital space. We can now safely reach more people through live chat and texting, and we will continue exploring additional ways to expand our digital services.

Education and prevention are the keys to ending domestic violence. Through loveisrespect, our project with Break the Cycle, we engage, educate and empower young people to build healthy relationships and stop abusive relationship behaviors before they start.

quote2Last year, The Hotline opened a digital services office in Washington, DC, where our team also informs policy on The Hill to further protect victims while bringing domestic abusers to justice.

Our vision is to answer every call for help and ensure victims have the protections they need to leave an abusive relationship as safely as possible.

We could not do this work without the commitment and generosity of our staff, partners and donors. Every contribution has a meaningful impact on the future of this organization. We offer our heartfelt thanks to all who support The Hotline’s efforts as we look forward to a world where domestic violence doesn’t exist.

To learn more about The Hotline’s 20th anniversary events, please click here.

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What We’re Thankful For…

thanksgiving-2015As Thanksgiving approaches, we wanted to take a moment to express what we’re thankful for at The Hotline:

We are thankful for the brave survivors, friends and family members who reach out to us every day. Their strength and courage is inspiring, and it is an honor to provide information, resources and comfort in their darkest hours.

We are thankful for the amazing advocates who answer phones, chats and texts 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Their dedication and compassion is truly at the heart of this organization.

We are thankful for our friends in the movement to end domestic violence and dating abuse, and for their tireless efforts to protect and support victims and survivors.

We are thankful for our corporate partners and sponsors who recognize that domestic violence is an issue that should not be ignored. Their support allows us to keep doing this work day in and day out.

We are thankful for all of the individual donors whose gifts support our capacity to serve women, men and families affected by domestic violence across the country.

We’re thankful for those who visit this website to learn more about domestic violence and how to stop it, and for those who share information and speak out to raise awareness among their networks.

All of us at The Hotline are thankful every day that we are able to support people affected by domestic violence. Thank YOU for being a part of our community.

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Are You an LGBTQ Survivor? We Want to Hear from You!

survey-blog-imageThis post was contributed by the National LGBTQ DV Capacity Building Learning Center

The past year and a half have been huge for trans*, bi, lesbian and gay people across the United States. Communities big and small are grappling with Marriage Equality and the unprecedented visibility of LGBTQ relationships and families. With this visibility comes greater awareness of the violence that many in our community continue to face. For example, trans* women of color continue to bring much needed attention to the ongoing violence experienced by trans* people across the country. Additionally, the CDC recently released a report showing that LGBTQ people experience domestic abuse at higher rates than heterosexual and non-trans people.

As we gain awareness about the extent of violence experienced by trans*, bi, lesbian and gay people, we must also learn more about how to help those experiencing violence. Where do LGBTQ people go for support? How useful is that support? How can individuals, agencies and communities more effectively work with diverse LGBTQ survivors to meet their needs?

We want to hear from you!
To address these questions and more, the Northwest Network of Bisexual, Trans, Lesbian & Gay Survivors of Abuse and the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs established the National LGBTQ DV Capacity Building Learning Center (the Learning Center). The Learning Center will provide national resources and recommendations to address and prevent domestic violence in LGBTQ communities.

The Learning Center is currently partnering with the National Domestic Violence Hotline to hear directly from bi, trans*, lesbian, gay, or queer people about their experiences seeking help for domestic or dating abuse.

Do you identify as a bi, trans*, lesbian, gay, or queer survivor of abuse in a dating or intimate relationship? We want to hear from you! We invite you to participate in a brief survey to help us learn more about your experiences seeking help. You can also click on the “Take a Survey” button in the sidebar of this website to take the survey.

The information from this survey is critical. It will inform national recommendations for how local, state, and federal programs can support LGBTQ people survive abuse, build safety, and create loving and equitable relationships.

Thank you for your help!

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This October #SeeDV with The Hotline

dvam-blog-1October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM)! This month serves as a reminder for people in communities across the country to renew their commitment to preventing and ending domestic violence, which affects more than 12 million people in the U.S. each year. Although domestic violence is an important issue year-round, DVAM is an opportunity for all in the movement – from organizations and coalitions to survivors, friends and family members – to come together, amplify our stories and help the world #SeeDV.

Over the past year, the conversation about domestic violence has expanded and, in many ways, become more nuanced. People are learning more about the complexities of abusive relationships, including why it’s so difficult for victims to leave and how our society can better support people who have been abused.

At The Hotline, we #SeeDV every day. We’re seeing that domestic violence intersects with a variety of issues, including HIV/AIDS, firearms policy, law enforcement response and corporate social responsibility. During DVAM 2015, we will be shedding light on these issues with a few of our partners:

  • The Hotline is one of several organizations partnering with Kaiser Family Foundation’s Greater Than AIDS initiative to explore the intersection of HIV/AIDS and intimate partner violence (IPV). The campaign launching this month will include resources, a discussion guide and a video of four IPV survivors sharing their stories of living with abuse while HIV positive.
  • The Hotline will partner with Americans for Responsible Solutions for a joint webinar at 2 p.m. CT on Oct. 27. The webinar, entitled “A Deeper Conversation: The Intersection of Firearms and Domestic Violence,” will take a look at how the presence of a firearm in an abusive relationship intensifies the fear of abuse victims. It will also explore what can be done to provide greater protections to domestic violence victims and survivors. To register, click here.
  • For many years, Verizon has been committed to bringing attention to domestic violence and supporting survivors through its HopeLine program. Throughout October, Verizon will offer an exclusive line of purple accessories and will donate a portion of each sale, up to $100,000 to The Hotline. To learn more about HopeLine, visit their website.
  • Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is launching a second Pass the Peace campaign, which seeks to raise awareness and funds for The Hotline. Learn more about the campaign and how you can participate here.

We hope you’ll share how you #SeeDV with your friends, family and community this October. Be sure to follow The Hotline on social media for DVAM 2015 updates and ways to get involved!

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