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


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:


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.”

firearms and dv

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

firearms and dv

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),



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!


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:


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.


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.


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!”


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.


  • 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.



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.