Troy-Featured

I #SeeDV as Something We Can All Work to End: Troy Vincent

Troy Vincent with Hotline CEO Katie Ray-Jones and Hotline advocates

Troy Vincent with Hotline CEO Katie Ray-Jones and Hotline advocates

My recent visit to the National Domestic Violence Hotline reinforced that ending domestic violence should be a personal priority for everyone. The stories of real people in painful real-life situations further underscore the dire need to plead the cause of victims, empower them and provide them with lifesaving tools, safety planning and most importantly, hope. We need advocates who connect with victims and help them take action, find safety and live without abuse.

Family members, faith leaders, educators and advocates, corporations and government–we all have a role to play and a responsibility to speak boldly to end domestic violence.

Domestic violence was a way of life in my home. As boys, my brother and I watched helplessly and in pain as our mother struggled to find her voice, seek help and have the courage to say “no more.” As a result, the fear, the powerlessness and all the complexities that accompany that kind of violence are as real for me today as when I was a child. They are always with me.

As a husband, father, mentor and friend, my lifelong conviction is to set an example and help others never experience this horror. There are many teachable moments with my children where we talk openly about the impact of domestic violence. My wife and I look for opportunities to challenge our children, stressing that there is never an excuse for violence and teaching them to find their voice on this issue.

As a former athlete, I have chosen to share my story and taken every opportunity to bring attention to this important issue and help drive change — in the locker room and the community.

As an executive, I continue to advocate for programs and resources to care for victims, educate players, and support family members around the issue of domestic violence. The NFL’s mandatory domestic violence and sexual assault education assists players and staff in building healthy relationships. It teaches us to identify off-field challenges that might lead to abuse and gives us skills to help prevent and end domestic violence and sexual assault.

The NFL Life Line provides current and former players, family members and team and league staff with a secure, confidential and independent resource for any personal or emotional crisis.

Our Player Engagement programs and NFL Legends Community are building a national network of former players trained to support players and their families, during their playing experience and after they transition away from the game.

Our Personal Conduct Policy — developed with more than 100 domestic violence and sexual assault experts, advocates and survivors, law enforcement officials, academic experts, business leaders, current and former players and the players’ union — establishes clear standards that apply to all NFL personnel.

We must talk openly about domestic violence and teach our children how to build healthy relationships. We must raise awareness and remove the shame and stigma that prevent victims from seeking help. We must support organizations like the National Domestic Violence Hotline that help make sure everyone who needs assistance can get it.

There is still much more work to be done. My faith has helped me end the cycle of domestic violence in my family, and it’s what sustains my work to end domestic violence. We must make our voices heard and turn our words into actions.

Troy Vincent Sr. played in the National Football League for fifteen years for the Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles, Buffalo Bills, and Washington Redskins. From 2004-2008, he served as president of the NFL Players’ Association. He is currently the NFL executive vice president of Football Operations.

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Pamela Anderson Donates $60,000 to The Hotline

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She is probably best known for her career as an actress, but Pamela Anderson now spends most of her time raising funds for non-profit organizations worldwide. Anderson recently visited the National Domestic Violence Hotline (The Hotline) to make a significant contribution and hear first-hand how advocates are making a difference in the lives of those affected by abuse.

Every day, advocates at The Hotline answer approximately 900 calls, chats and texts from victims, survivors, their friends and family seeking information about domestic violence. With one in four women, one in seven men and one in three teens experiencing physical, emotional or verbal abuse by an intimate partner in their lifetime, the need to provide resources and support for victims is critical. It is why The Pamela Anderson Foundation chose to donate $60,000 to the organization that has been answering calls around the clock since its inception in 1996.

“It was incredibly important for me to meet the men and women who, day in and day out, offer compassion and information to anyone who needs help with domestic violence. I am so happy to know that our donation will help ensure those seeking options will continue to find that trusted resource at The Hotline,” said Pamela Anderson, founder of The Pamela Anderson Foundation.

Anderson presented the check to Katie Ray-Jones, chief executive officer of The Hotline, who thanked the actress, author and philanthropist for her generous gift. “We know that Pamela is incredibly busy raising money to support her foundation, allowing her to donate to causes she believes in such as ours. We couldn’t do this work without supporters like The Pamela Anderson Foundation. We are grateful for people like her who have a place in their heart for the people we serve.”

Chideo, the charity network, captured Anderson’s visit to The Hotline; click on the image below to watch:

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Delegations from US and China Share Best Practices for Domestic Violence Services

With special contribution from Lynn Rosenthal, vice president of strategic partnerships, and Norma Amezcua, director of quality assurance at the National Domestic Violence Hotline

The National Domestic Violence Hotline is currently participating in a project between the US and China to share information about best practices for the intervention and prevention of domestic violence.  This project grew out of the US-China People to People Exchange held last year in Beijing.  During that event, the two countries agreed to collaborate to provide training for hotline workers and advocates working to address domestic violence in China.

Last month, a delegation that included representatives from The Hotline, governmental officials from the US Department of Health and Human Services, the State Department, and the White House traveled to China to meet and exchange information with local service providers and organizations. The key partner working on behalf of women in China is the All-China Women’s Federation (ACWF), an organization that works to improve the status of women in China.

The ACWF infrastructure provides an opportunity for anti-violence work at the local, provincial and national level.  Services vary around the country, with several provinces developing model efforts that bring together law enforcement, women’s outreach and the courts. The ACWF estimates that nearly 1 in 4 women in China have experienced domestic violence, a very similar rate to the US. However, other estimates of domestic violence in China are even higher than the official data.

During the visit, the Chinese and US delegations discussed intervention and prevention, and agreed that changing social norms is the key to stopping domestic violence. ACWF is working to change the perception that domestic violence is a private family matter, which has also been a persistent belief in the US, especially prior to VAWA. All attendees agreed to continue discussing effective methods to change social norms and to consider ways to evaluate these efforts.

The US delegation also conducted two training sessions, one in Wuxi City (in the southern part of the country) and one in Beijing. Participants included students, law enforcement officials, ACWF officials and outreach workers, social workers, lawyers and psychologists. In both the training sessions and in meetings with ACWF officials, the US delegation learned about best practices and the legal response to domestic violence in China.

Domestic violence is a global issue, and no country is immune. We are grateful for this opportunity to learn and exchange ideas with our counterparts in China. A delegation from ACWF will visit the US later this year, and we look forward to continuing conversations about best practices, policies and solutions for ending domestic violence around the world.

Attendees at the training session in Wuxi City

Attendees at the training session in Wuxi City

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The Hotline Joins Colleagues in Announcing New Victim Policy Priorities

In recognition of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (April 19-25), more than 20 national victim and survivor organizations announced shared policy priorities for the next decade yesterday in Washington, DC.

The six policy priorities were identified late last fall at a convening of leaders in the crime victims and survivors advocacy field. The broad collection of national victim and survivor advocacy organizations that met to develop the priorities included advocates for homicide survivors; human trafficking victims; elder victims; victims of drunk driving; victims of domestic violence and sexual assault; victims of campus violence; victims of color; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender victims of violence; and many more.

The collaborating organizations committed to using their combined energies over the next decade to:

  • Ensure that amounts collected for the Crime Victims Fund are released for their intended purpose, at levels necessary to meet the needs of crime victims and reduce the impact of victimization on individuals and society.
  • Reform crime victim compensation to increase benefits, improve access, reduce barriers, and promote standardization across jurisdictions.
  • Incorporate racial justice concerns in victim and survivor advocacy efforts.
  • Protect the physical safety, emotional well-being, and financial security of all crime victims and witnesses.
  • Pursue justice for all crime victims by continuing to reform our justice systems to increase transparency, ensure that victims’ voices are heard, and provide meaningful accountability.
  • Promote fair and thoughtful roles for institutions in preventing and responding to victimization.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline and our partners invite others at the national, state, tribal and local levels to read the report and sign on at www.victimsofcrime.org.

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Congressional Briefing to Be Held on Cyberstalking and Online Threats

Cyberstalking and online threats are serious issues in our digital age. According to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center, nearly one in five (18%) of all internet users have experienced severe forms of online abuse, including physical threats, stalking, sustained harassment and/or sexual harassment. Young female internet users (age 18-24) experience the most severe online violence.

On Wednesday, April 15, at 10 a.m. ET the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence, National Council of Women’s Organizations and The National Organization for Women will hold a congressional briefing about these issues in partnership with United States Representative Katherine Clark. During the briefing, experts will discuss the prevalence of cyberstalking and online threats and how to combat them. Scheduled to attend are:

  • Michelle Garcia, Director of the Stalking Resource Center
  • Zoe Quinn, Video Game Developer and Co-founder of Crash Override
  • John Wilkinson, Attorney Advisor at AEquitas: The Prosecutors’ Resource on Violence Against Women
  • Danielle Keats Citron, Lois K. Macht Research Professor and Professor of Law at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law and author of Hate Crimes in Cyberspace

The briefing will be broadcast live on the National Center for Victims of Crime’s Twitter handle. To participate, simply follow @CrimeVictimsOrg on Twitter. We hope you’ll join the conversation using the hashtag #StopWebH8 and help spread the word!

Additional Reading:

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Update on NFL Commitment to The Hotline

Our CEO, Katie Ray-Jones, has released the following update on the status of the NFL commitment to the Hotline:

“We are in lock step with the NFL as we work through final details of our multi-million dollar, multi-year agreement. We are working together to fulfill this commitment, and look forward to partnering with Commissioner Goodell and his staff to work toward our ultimate goal of answering every call. Because of the NFL’s commitment to providing much-needed support to The Hotline and the people we serve, we have been able to hire additional staff to answer more calls for help and prepare the organization so no call goes unanswered.”

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Hotline Focus Survey Provides Firsthand Look at Intersection of Firearms & Domestic Violence; Highlights Need for Stronger Laws and Equal Protection

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June 18, 2014, Washington, DC – Today in Washington, DC, Rob Valente, National Domestic Violence Hotline policy expert presented highlights from a recent focus survey conducted by The Hotline on the use of firearms in domestic violence situations.  The survey revealed how the presence of a firearm in an abusive relationship intensifies the fear of abuse victims and escalates the violence directed towards them, regardless of whether or not the survivor is married, dating or being stalked by the abuser. Current laws offer protections for married victims of intimate partner abuse, but the same protection is not afforded to those who are in a dating relationship or those who are being stalked. Valente provided the preliminary results of the survey at a panel featuring Former U.S. Representative Gabby Giffords and Captain Mark Kelly, co-founders of Americans for Responsible Solutions, as well as U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar and Saundra Rhodes, Chief of Police of Horry County, South Carolina and domestic violence survivor, Sarah Engle.  Neera Tanden, President of the Center for American Progress, Counselor to the Center for American Progress Action Fund moderated the panel which discussed the intersection between gun violence and violence against women.

One in four women and one in seven men 18 and older in America report they have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime. When the abuser has access to firearms, the survey confirmed that victims’ fears intensify and the violence escalates. Statistics show that it also turns deadly. According to research published in the American Journal of Public Health, the presence of a gun in domestic violence situations increases the risk of homicide for women by 500 percent. More than half of women murdered with guns are killed by family members or intimate partners.1

Survey Findings

The findings from the eight week survey conducted this spring by The Hotline shows how guns are being used to coerce, intimidate and inflict injury.

Of those whose partners have access to firearms:

  • 22% said their partner had threatened to use their firearm to hurt themselves, their intimate partner, their children, family members, friends and even pets with a firearm.
  • 67% believe their partner is capable of killing them
  • 52% said they would feel safer if law enforcement took their partner/spouse/ex’s firearms
  • Only 34% said they were aware that the court may be able to order their partner to surrender their firearms and ammunition

Of those who said their partner had threatened them with a firearm:

  • 76% said their partner made verbal threats to use the gun
  • 24% of them said their partner waved the gun around
  • 25% said their partner pointed the gun at them or others
  • 30% said their partner left the gun out to create a feeling of fear
  • 54% said their partner had threatened suicide with the gun

Below are some of the anonymous stories told to The Hotline advocates during the eight week survey:

Hotline Survey Anecdotes:

One woman said that during a fight, her partner shot a gun at her. Someone called the police. Her partner was arrested on a violation of a restraining order, but the gun charges were dropped.

One participant in the survey said her partner sexually assaulted her with his gun by putting the gun inside her when she refused to have sex with him.

One caller said her abuser told their young child he would shoot the entire family and maybe others.

One woman’s partner shot her while she sat in her car, another said her husband threatened to shoot her in the face.

One of the women said her partner put a gun in his mouth while talking to her on an internet service. In another case, a husband recorded a video of how he would kill himself with his gun if she left him.

One caller told The Hotline advocate about her husband who sleeps with loaded guns under his pillow. Not long ago, she woke to the sound of him releasing the safety next to her head. His guns, she said, are regularly used to threaten her and abuse her.

Changes to Legislation Needed

Urging policy makers to take immediate action, National Domestic Violence Hotline policy expert, Rob Valente says, “We need stronger protections for victims now. The people who call the Hotline are brave and they are survivors. They’ve managed to stay alive. Every day at The Hotline, advocates listen to their stories and we hear them and we help them. Today, we must act as their voice, because if they were able to do so, they would tell lawmakers they’re scared, they want the fear and pain to stop and they need help.” The National Domestic Violence Hotline believes that in order for survivors to find safety and live lives free of abuse, changes are needed. Some of the specific ways in which the current legislation should be strengthened:

  • Protecting victims of dating violence and stalking from firearms violence—in addition to the existing protection for victims of domestic violence
  • Protecting victims at the time when they are in greatest danger—when they first go to court to seek help
  • Giving law enforcement the authority to seize firearms when there is probable cause to believe the firearms were used to commit domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking
  • Giving courts the authority to order that firearms used to commit domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking be removed from the abuser
  • Improving the entry of state data concerning domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking into the National Crime Information Center databases, so that the FBI has the information it needs to prevent adjudicated abusers from getting access to firearms

Domestic violence offenders commit more than a million acts of domestic violence each year, resulting in hundreds of deaths2, approximately 22 percent of which are gun-related.3

“Doing nothing is not an option. Right now, women are being terrorized in their own homes,” Valente said.

1J.C. Campbell, D.W. Webster, J. Koziol-McLain, et al., “Risk factors for femicide within physically abusive intimate relationships: results from a multi-site case control study,” 93 Amer. J. of Public Health 1089-1097 (2003).

2U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, J.Truman, L. Langton, & M. Planty, Criminal Victimization 2012 (Oct.2013) (Table 1) (1,259,390 incidents of domestic violence in 2012),

3http://www.jhsph.edu/research/centers-and-institutes/johns-hopkins-center-for-gun-policy-and-research/publications/IPV_Guns.pdf

mothersday

Honor Mothers This May with the Hotline

mothersdayMother’s Day is a time to recognize mothers for the immeasurable contributions they make every day to better our world. Whether you are a mother, have a mother or know a mother who has impacted your life, you are aware of the many amazing qualities that the finest mothers possess – kindness, self-sacrifice, strength, generosity, courage, love, humor, selflessness, bravery and so much more.

This May, the National Domestic Violence Hotline is inviting you to acknowledge and thank your mom or a special mom you know by sending her a virtual Mother’s Day card and making a donation of $30 to the Hotline in her honor.

The cards were designed by Hotline advocates who provide compassionate, one-on-one support to those suffering from abuse. Our advocates speak daily with domestic violence victims – many of whom are mothers – who go to great lengths to keep their children and themselves safe despite facing numerous cruelties, including:

The need for additional help is great.

In the United States, 1 in 4 women has been a victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in her lifetime. Due to lack of resources, thousands of calls to the Hotline go unanswered each year. Your generous support can help us reach more people who need crisis intervention, safety planning, resources, and hope. This Mother’s Day, please celebrate moms everywhere with the Hotline. You can make a difference!

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Hotline President Katie Ray-Jones Testifies in Washington

Katie-in-DCToday the hotline’s president and acting CEO, Katie Ray-Jones, testified in front of the House LHHS Appropriations Subcommittee in Washington, DC. In her testimony, she asked for full funding of domestic violence programs in order to fill crucial needs for victims across the nation. We wanted to share a few key points of her submitted testimony here on the hotline blog:

  • Every day, [the hotline’s] highly trained advocates answer nearly 700 calls, texts or chats from those affected by domestic and dating violence. We know that many victims are one call, text or chat away from serious, if not deadly, violence.
  • Ninety-five percent of those contacting us disclosed verbal and emotional abuse, while 70 percent reported physical abuse.
  • Over 20,000 victims disclosed instances of economic abuse, in which their partner forcibly took control or manipulated their finances in order to wield power over them.
  • Over 5,000 victims disclosed instances of child abuse.
  • Nearly 5,000 victims were struggling with issues related to immigration.
  • The downtrend in the economy has impacted both victims and the local programs that serve them. A third of the victim callers surveyed had experienced a change in their financial situation in the previous year; 98% of those experienced an intensification of abuse during that same period.
  • The current economic climate has created a severe budget crisis for programs that provide safety and support for victims across the country. A 2013 survey of rape crisis centers by the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence found that over one-third of programs have a waiting list for services such as counseling and support groups, while over half had to lay off staff.
  • Victims of domestic violence have fewer places to turn, also. According to the National Network to End Domestic Violence’s 2013 Domestic Violence Counts annual census, in just one day last year, while more than 66,000 victims of domestic violence received services, over 9,640 requests for services went unmet, due to a lack of funding and resources.
  • We work in partnership with local, state, territorial and tribal programs. If any of us closes or reduces services because of funding shortfalls, everyone is impacted.
  • We ask today for increased funding for the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act programs.

You can view her full testimony in front of the subcommittee below:


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Help the Hotline Amplify Austin!

We are very excited to announce that the National Domestic Violence Hotline is participating in Amplify Austin 20amplifyATX14, presented by I Live Here, I Give Here!

Amplify Austin is a 24-hour online “festival of giving” that provides an easy and fun way for the entire community to help hundreds of nonprofits that are meeting critical needs. This year’s campaign will take place on Thursday, March 20th starting at 6pm and will end on March 21st at 6pm. The goal is to raise $4 million for area-wide nonprofits.

Did you know that the hotline is headquartered in Austin, TX? We love our fair city and are thrilled to join more than 400 nonprofits in Central Texas for the second annual Amplify Austin campaign. Every dollar we raise will go toward increasing our capacity to serve victims of domestic violence in Central Texas and across the nation.

Know the Numbers

  • 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men over the age of 18 in the U.S. have experienced intimate partner violence
  • 1 in 3 adolescents in the U.S. has been a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner
  • Since its inception, the hotline has answered more than three million calls, a number that highlights the increasing need for these important life saving services
  • Austin and Central Texas are consistently among our highest call volume locations, and have the highest engagement levels on our social media channels

Help Us Amplify Austin

If you live in the Central Texas area (or even if you don’t), check out our Amplify Austin profile and consider making a gift to support the hotline – you can even schedule it in advance (set it and forget it!)

If you’re unable to donate at this time, you can still help by spreading the word about Amplify Austin and the hotline’s involvement. Share our Amplify Austin profile with your networks and encourage friends and family to do the same. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates!

We strongly believe in the work we do, and we appreciate all of your support for the domestic violence victims we serve.

IVAWA

Help Stop Violence Against Women Worldwide

Every day, women and girls around the world are subject to physical and sexual violence. Gender-based violence knows no physical or cultural boundaries, occurring in times of war and peace and in every single country around the world. Shockingly, rates are as high as 70% in some countries.

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But this is a problem with a solution.

The U.S. government has a critical role to play in preventing and ending gender-based violence worldwide. And Members of Congress have a unique opportunity in this important effort.

Passing the International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA) is one of the best ways the U.S. can help. This new bill – introduced by Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and soon to be introduced in the Senate, represents a crucial step in sticking up for and empowering women and girls worldwide. The International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA) integrates violence prevention and response into U.S. foreign policy and supports proven programs that can reduce violence against women and girls.

On any given day, horrifying news stories about such violence appears across the news: The systematic rape of women in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Increasing assaults on the women and girls standing up for their rights in Afghanistan. Violence against women and girls in Haiti whose lives are already devastated by the earthquake. Sadly, the list could go on for days. These horrific instances of gender-based violence are not isolated to a few women in a few places- they are just the stories that make headlines.

Incidents of violence against women internationally can seem distant and incomprehensible. But the women affected share many of the same dreams and aspirations as our sisters, our daughters, our friends and lovers, and our neighbors. Violence takes the lives of millions of women and girls, and denies countless others their dignity and the chance to live safe, productive lives. And, in a world where tensions and violence within communities can jeopardize national and international security, it is vital that the United States take action.

We cannot turn away. We must end atrocities committed against women and girls in their homes and in their communities, during times of peace and times of conflict.

The United States Congress can help address these horrifying abuses. Lawmakers should move quickly to pass IVAWA and signal the United States’ commitment to stopping violence against women and girls worldwide.

You, your family, and your neighbors now can let lawmakers know you want more to be done to address violence against women globally. And you can do it right now.

Let your Member of Congress know that ending violence against women and girls is important to you. Send a message urging him or her to pass the International Violence Against Women Act.

To learn more, go to “Let’s Pass I-VAWA!”

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Happy New Year From The Hotline!

It’s been an amazing year of milestones for the hotline, and we couldn’t have done it without the kindness and generosity from all of you. We are so grateful to our supporters who helped us create healthier families and communities 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The hotline saw growth and change in 2013:

  • This summer we answered our 3 millionth call, a somber milestone that allowed us to reflect on the people we’ve been able to help and the work that still needs to be done.

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  • In October we revamped our website… and launched online chat services! Victims, friends and family now have a new way to interact with an advocate and get help safely, quickly and anonymously from any device with internet access.

  • In October we asked, “How do you see DV?” and the responses were more than could’ve imagined. We featured blog posts by everyone from Denver Broncos’ Chris Harris, Jr., to Jasmine Villegas.

  • Our loveisrespect advocates have seen a record number of young people reaching out for help via text (“loveis” to 22522) and chat.

  • Vice President Joe Biden stopped by our Austin, TX headquarters during Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Check out this great recap of his visit.

  • We launched the 24/7/365 Society. A pledge of $1,000 a year for three years secures a place as a founding member of the society, recognizing your constant support of victims of domestic violence.

  • We participated in Giving Tuesday for the first time ever. On December 3rd our advocates and staff joined together to build a Gingerbread Hotline. With each donation we added a fun item to the hotline, representing how each gift builds and strengthens our ability to help more survivors, families and friends.

  • In December, the Avon Foundation for Women offered to match any gifts we received, up to $200,000. This was a great opportunity, because each gift did twice the good.

It’s been a great year of change, and we’re looking forward to what the coming year will bring. From all of us here at the hotline, we’re so appreciative to have a strong community of supporters and friends working to build a world of healthier relationships. Thank you for helping us serve 24/7/365.

Remember that we’re always just a phone call or chat away. 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Wishing you a safe, happy and healthy new year.