National Domestic Violence Hotline Awareness

The Hotline Gives Thanks

For many Americans, Thanksgiving is a day to spend time with family, giving thanks for loved ones, eating a home-cooked meal and enjoying all that life has to offer. During this holiday, we at The Hotline pause to give thanks and show gratitude for the following:

  • That those affected by domestic violence find the courage and strength to make that first call for help to 1-800-799-SAFE.
  • That elected officials understand the serious situation that domestic violence victims find themselves in and are working to help end domestic violence.
  • For partners and donors’ support and dedication in helping The Hotline be a vital link to safety for thousands of victims each month.
  • For advocates who give selflessly to each caller and are a voice of hope and safety as they journey toward a life free from violence.

Not everyone will have an easy holiday. Some will not be home, but instead seeking safety and refuge at their local family violence shelter. You can make these families’ holidays brighter by reaching out to your local family violence program this season. There are many ways you can help:

  • Volunteer your time at a local family violence program
  • Donate your professional skills (i.e. legal services, administrative, medical, hairstyling, etc.)
  • Organize a food drive or toy drive through your church, club, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, etc.
  • Donate gifts for adults and children. Some programs even provide opportunities for residents to pick and give gifts to their children.
  • Adopt a family at your local program
  • Donate your gently used clothing items. Programs use these items for residents who flee with only the clothes on their backs. Some also have resale shops and accept donations of clothes, toys, books, etc.

Keep watching the website for our “Light Up the Holidays” series, discussing how you can help those affected by domestic violence this holiday season. And from everyone at The Hotline, we wish you a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

National Domestic Violence Hotline Blog

She Couldn’t Do It Alone

This blog post was written by Christina Owens. We thank her for sharing her and her mother’s story to help other victims.

By the time I was six, I knew the drill all too well. There would be a little bit of yelling, things would be thrown about and Dad would strike Mom. She would cry and apologize and I would hide. That was my job, when things got ugly I was to be invisible and I had gotten incredibly good at it.

A few years later, it was important for me to be visible and to cry for help because the strongest woman I know was at her weakest moment in life. She was being choked and didn’t have a voice. I was afraid for her life and got help the only way I knew how – by dialling 9-1-1. The police came. They handcuffed Dad and put him in the police car – this wasn’t the first time they had been called to our house on account of domestic violence, but it was the first time that Mom’s friends decided that it was time to get involved.

They knew some of what went on at our house. They could hear it and they knew that the police had been to our house before. But they were never willing to talk to Mom about it. Maybe they didn’t know what they would say to her or maybe they felt as if it wasn’t their “place” to say anything. But one thing is certain: Mom couldn’t escape the abuse alone. Dad owned her. Her self-esteem was at an all time low and she really believed she was good for nothing. She was afraid to leave – afraid that would put her (and me) in more danger than just enduring the pain. He paid for everything we had and was financially responsible for us. And, above all else, she truly loved him. It would have been difficult for her to make it on her own and she didn’t know the first step in getting out safely.

She was never willing to press charges and, as a result, Dad never had to sit in jail for long. Mom’s closest friends were aware of this and went to work quickly. They reminded her of what she had and helped boost her confidence. They gave her the willpower she needed to change her thinking from ‘I can’t’ to ‘I can.’ They told her that his behaviour was not okay and reminded her that she had a small child who was looking up to her as an example to life.

Mom cried. She didn’t want to continue living this way, but she didn’t know how to get out, she’d been living this way for so long that it had become the norm for her. Mom’s good friend offered to let us live at her house, at least for a while, until we could figure something else out. Her friends encouraged her to move – to get out. They promised her they’d hide our location from him.

They promised we wouldn’t be alone.

Her friends helped her pack up our whole lives into a few boxes and we escaped to another town. Mom was saving herself, she was saving me, and she was doing what she had to do. She is one of the strongest women I know.

I often think about how different life would have been for both of us had Mom’s friends not gotten involved. I suspect that Mom would have continued to repeat the Battered Wife Syndrome week after week, month after month and year after year. Mom couldn’t do it alone. She didn’t have the strength; she didn’t have the finances and she didn’t have the know-how. Domestic violence IS everybody’s issue. Many women don’t know the first step to take. They need a friend. A friend they can trust; a friend who is willing to help, willing to listen without blame.

Our new life would not have been possible without the help of Mom’s friends. Know your neighbors; know your friends. If someone is hurting your friend or family member, it IS your business. Get involved. Stop domestic violence NOW!


Judge Jeanine Pirro, Host of “Judge Pirro,” Joins Forces With NDVH to Promote An Educational Initiative Against Domestic Violence

Chicago, IL and Austin, TX — Emmy® nominated Judge Jeanine Pirro is teaming up with the National Domestic Violence Hotline (NDVH) to launch an educational initiative about domestic violence prevention through her one-hour daily syndicated court program, “Judge Pirro.”  Pirro’s goal is to bring more attention to this nationwide crisis in conjunction with the NDVH, the national non-profit organization that provides crisis intervention, information and referral to victims of domestic violence, perpetrators, friends and families. The Hotline has received more than two million calls from abused women and families in crisis over the past 15 years.

In the upcoming 2010/2011 season, Judge Pirro will incorporate safety tips and action plans and provide resources within the show as well as on the show’s website,  In order to aid in the eradication of domestic violence, “Judge Pirro” will raise awareness about what constitutes emotional, physical and sexual abuse and will work to provide numerous resources that are available to those who may be in unhealthy relationships. In November 2009, “Judge Pirro” produced an entire episode focused on the domestic violence issue and provided the NDVH toll free number on the show.  As a result, the Hotline saw a 25% increase in call volume. Both the show and the NDVH see this partnership as a natural fit for their shared goals.

“I know true justice will not be done until we understand that our obligation doesn’t end with punishing the abuser.  We must also reach out to heal the victims,” said Judge Jeanine Pirro.

“When I started as a prosecutor, a man could shoot, stab, beat or brutalize his wife with no consequences.  A woman could not charge her husband with rape. These were not considered crimes.  There was a flawed notion that violence and rape in the home were beyond the reach of the law, protected by a family’s right to privacy.”

Pirro continued, “The public has to be educated about domestic violence. Every time a victim is ignored, or a criminal goes unpunished, or violence is excused, our society erodes further.  It becomes harder, meaner, and more violent.  Without redress, victims become despairing and embittered; often they exact their price by victimizing others. We all understand the cycle of violence.”

“We are honored to partner with Judge Pirro and raise awareness about domestic violence because education is the key to preventing family violence,” said Dyanne Purcell, CEO of the National Domestic Violence Hotline. “Parents, friends and family members need to be aware of the warning signs of an abusive relationship and know where to turn for resources before the violence escalates.”

Judge Jeanine Pirro was the first female County Court Judge elected in 1990 and Westchester’s first female District Attorney in 1993.  Throughout her political and legal career, Pirro crusaded to change laws in order to protect women and children. From successfully starting the first domestic violence unit in the nation to tenaciously fighting for a level playing field for women, children and the disenfranchised, Judge Pirro has used her insight, education, and professional experience to make a difference in the lives of many.  Pirro is constantly called upon to be a legal commentator and guest host on national cable and broadcast news outlets because and her profound insight of topical news stories that grip the nation every day.

Judge Pirro is an active member of the National Domestic Violence Hotline Celebrity Board and is joined by actress Salma Hayek and singer Martina McBride.

About “Judge Pirro”:
“Judge Pirro” (syndicated, check local listings) is produced by Telepictures Productions and originates from Chicago.

About The National Domestic Violence Hotline:
The National Domestic Violence Hotline, headquartered in Austin, Texas, provides anonymous and confidential life-saving support, crisis intervention, safety planning, information and referrals 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year through a toll-free confidential call center which operates in 170 languages through interpreter services. Additional information may be obtained at <> or by calling 1-800-799-7233.


Laura Danford Mandel
Senior Vice President, Publicity
Telepictures Productions

Jessica Fielder
“Judge Pirro”

Susan Risdon
National Domestic Violence Hotline