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National Domestic Violence Hotline Awareness

First Dating Abuse Texting Service Launches

On September 27, loveisrespect.org, a partnership between the National Dating Abuse Helpline and Break the Cycle, announced the nation’s first dating abuse texting service. Teens and 20-somethings can now ask questions about healthy relationships simply by texting “loveis” to 77054 to directly connect to a peer advocate.

Vice President Joe Biden premiered the service on September 26, sending the first text to peer advocate Whitney Laas, thanking loveisrespect.org advocates for their work to end dating abuse.

An additional feature of the brand’s re-launch is the updated website. The new site contains interactive quizzes as well as expanded information about LGBTQ dating, legal support and digital abuse. As always, the innovative online chat is still accessible through the website. Also as an added feature, young adults will now be able to receive services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The re-launch of loveisrespect.org was made possible by the Office on Violence Against Women, Liz Claiborne Inc., Healthy Kids Healthy Families and the Verizon Foundation. To learn more, please visit loveisrespect.org.

National Domestic Violence Hotline Awareness

Letter from the President

Dear Friends and Colleagues:

In October of 1981, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence organized a “Day of Unity.” On that day, thirty years ago, advocates from across the country joined together in their commitment to end domestic violence. The “Day of Unity” evolved into a full week of activities designed to promote awareness, and that week gradually progressed into the Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

The first official Domestic Violence Awareness Month was held in October of 1987; it preceded the launch of the National Domestic Violence Hotline by nearly a decade. The Hotline was fortunate to enter into such a rich tradition, and year by year, we are honored to provide a platform for some of the most important voices in the movement: survivors, advocates, friends, and families. Every year, Domestic Violence Awareness Month holds a special place in our hearts. Its mission mirrors the mission that we strive to uphold 24 hours a day, 365 days a year: to give hope and a voice to those who have been affected by domestic violence across the nation. To date, the Hotline has held space for over 2.5 million voices, and we continue to receive over 22,500 calls per month.

On October 4th, the Hotline has the privilege to join the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence in the 2011 National Call of Unity. Much like the “Day of Unity” thirty years ago, the National Call of Unity continues in the vital tradition of honoring those affected by intimate partner violence across the nation and uniting the advocates working on their behalf. We will hear from Kalyn Risker, founder of SAFE: Sisters Acquiring Financial Empowerment, as she shares the story of her own incredible journey. Then, following a collective moment of silence, artists Sunni Patterson and Asia Rainey will share a dramatic recitation they have prepared for the occasion.

In addition, this month we celebrate with The National Dating Abuse Helpline and Break the Cycle, who just launched the new loveisrespect.org. Loveisrespect.org now offers 24 hour advocacy for those experiencing dating abuse, and we are excited to announce that help is now available via text! On September 27th the service was first used by Vice President Joe Biden, and on September 28th this breakthrough was featured on “The View.” The website is also full of new features and information, including new segments for those in the LGBTQ community, those seeking legal assistance, and those experiencing digital abuse.

Thank you so much for your support – past, present, and future – of the National Domestic Violence Hotline and loveisrespect.org. It is an honor to serve those affected by domestic and dating abuse, and it is to our continued delight that we are able to share in this work with you.

Sincerely,

 

 

 

Katie Ray Jones
President
National Domestic Violence Hotline
National Dating Abuse Helpline

National Domestic Violence Hotline Awareness

17th Anniversary of the Violence Against Women’s Act

National Domestic Violence Hotline CEO Dyanne Purcell and Hotline President Katie Ray-Jones joined Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden in Washington D.C. for the 17th Anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act yesterday. Other leaders in the domestic violence movement were also in attendance to celebrate the achievements of VAWA, which was first passed in 1994 in the efforts to better protect victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. The Violence Against Women Act was a landmark piece of legislation that in addition to other great accomplishments, created the National Domestic Violence Hotline. Then-senator Joe Biden was the chief author of the original legislation and has been instrumental in supporting not only The Hotline, but also working to end violence against women and girls.

“The Violence Against Women Act is the cornerstone of our nation’s response to domestic violence, providing lifesaving services to victims of domestic violence and their children,” said CEO Dyanne Purcell. “We praise Vice President Joe Biden and his leadership on this critical issue to ensuring victims of domestic violence and their children have a national hotline to call for help and that a nationwide network of domestic violence services will be there when families reach out for help.

See Dyanne’s pictures of the event below:

Read the White House blog post on the 17th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act to learn more about this occasion.

National Domestic Violence Hotline Awareness

We’re Partnering with Glamour and Avon to End Abuse

We have an exciting new campaign with GLAMOUR magazine and the Avon Foundation for Women to raise money for The Hotline and increase awareness about domestic violence. We are thankful for both organizations and their commitment to end domestic violence and empower our advocates who answer the phones.

GLAMOUR has generously lent their website to displaying critical information to their readers about the issue and our new campaign.

This innovative partnership has already gained attention. Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, longtime domestic violence advocates, gave an exclusive, heart-wrenching GLAMOUR interview about the issue and The Hotline. Below is an excerpt:

GLAMOUR: You’ve been working on this issue for more than 20 years now. Do you ever get discouraged?

DR. JILL BIDEN: Several times [on the campaign trail] a woman would say, “You know my sister would be alive today if we’d had VAWA sooner.” It’s just story after story.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: So when you ask, “Do you get discouraged?” No, I get angry. This is about one woman at a time. I think the scariest thing, the thing that makes my stomach just sink, is knowing how alone in a crowd these women are. [An abusive relationship] is worse than being in prison. I mean literally, not figuratively.

We will be sharing more information soon. We encourage all of our friends and readers to become involved.

Text TELLNOW to 85944 to make a $10 donation to the National Domestic Violence Hotline that helps us increase the number of calls we are capable of answering. In a beautiful act of generosity, the Avon Foundation for Women has volunteered to match every dollar you donate up to $200,000. A one-time donation of $10 will be billed to your mobile phone bill. Messaging & data rates may apply. Donations are collected for the National Domestic Violence Hotline by mobilecause.com. Reply STOP to 85944 to stop. Reply HELP to 85944 for help. For terms, see www.igfn.org/t.

National Domestic Violence Hotline Awareness

Fifteen Years of Saving Lives

Fifteen years ago today, the National Domestic Violence Hotline received its first call for help from a father seeking help for his daughter who was in an abusive relationship.

Advocates answer the phone lines at The Hotline 24 hours a day, seven days a week, working tirelessly to be a source of help, comfort and hope for all victims of domestic violence. Advocates understand that every call can potentially save a life. And because many Hotline advocates have themselves been victims of domestic violence, they understand the importance of a live voice on the line and the ability of The Hotline to connect callers to life-saving resources in their own communities.

When then Senator Joseph R. Biden and Senator Orrin G. Hatch co-authored the Violence Against Women Act, they could not have imagined that the historic legislation which created a national, toll-free hotline for victims of domestic violence would have 15 years later resulted in over 2.5 million calls for help to the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

We are grateful for the many partners who understand the vital need for The Hotline to be a beacon of help and hope to every caller – the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, local family violence programs, domestic violence coalitions and the many corporate, foundation, government and individual partners who have supported us over the years. We thank you all for your past and continued support in helping to reach the millions of women, men and children who seek to live a life free from violence.

There is more to be done in raising awareness of The Hotline as a vital resource to victims, their family, friends and other caring individuals. Many celebrities, including Salma Hayek, Martina McBride and Jason Witten have joined their voices with ours to raise awareness of The Hotline as a resource. Actress Marlee Matlin is the latest member of our 15th Anniversary Honorary Committee who is helping us reach out in our public awareness campaign.

Please visit our 15 year timeline to learn more about the valuable work that has been done over the last 15 years.

The Hotline is a source of help and hope and we will be here for you.

To make a donation to The Hotline, please visit our Donate page.

Please join us on Twitter and Facebook to get involved and follow the campaign.


A Presidential Commitment to Ending Domestic Violence

“The bottom line is this: No one in America should live in fear because they are unsafe in their own home – no adult, no child. And no one who is the victim of abuse should ever feel as though they have no way to get out. We need to make sure that every victim of domestic violence knows that they are not alone; that there are resources available to them in their moment of greatest need. As a society, we need to ensure that if a victim of abuse reaches out for help, we are there to lend a hand.”

–President Obama

On October 27th, President Obama and Vice President Biden recognized Domestic Violence Awareness Month with an event hosted at The White House. With the East Room filled with advocates, policy makers, politicians and other dignitaries, the President discussed the work being done by the administration on behalf of domestic violence victims, particularly economic provisions that help survivors financially reconstruct their lives.

Also on that date, the Department of Justice, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Treasury, Labor and FDIC announced new initiatives to protect victims and provide resources for families and communities to prevent abuse. The White House outlined the main goals of these initiatives as the following:

• Protect Children and Break the Cycle of Violence
• Improve Legal Protections for Victims of Domestic Violence
• Increase Sexual Assault Arrests and Successful Prosecutions
• Help Victims Regain Housing and Financial Independence

The Hotline CEO Dyanne Purcell and Katie Ray-Jones, Director for The Hotline and loveisrespect, were in attendance at the event, as well as several members of The Hotline’s Board of Directors.

In addition to the October 27th event, there was also the 16th anniversary of VAWA, hosted by Vice President Biden. To read a summary of that event and to see photos, please click here.

To learn more about the memorable occasion, please read The White House summary of the event.

To read the transcript of President Obama’s remarks, please click here.

National Domestic Violence Hotline Awareness

Violence Against Women Act Turns 16

National Domestic Violence Hotline Director Katie Ray-Jones and Hotline CEO Dyanne Purcell at the reception.Last week, Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden hosted a reception at their home at the Naval Observatory to mark the 16th anniversary of VAWA and The Hotline and loveisrespect, National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline were honored to be a part of the celebration.

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was a landmark piece of legislation that in addition to other great achievements, created the National Domestic Violence Hotline. Then-senator Joe Biden was the chief author of the 1994 legislation and has been instrumental in supporting not only The Hotline, but also working to end violence against women and girls.

We thank him and the other legislators responsible for VAWA for their hard work on behalf of victims. Please read the article that ran on the White House blog to learn more about VAWA.

(Pictured: Katie Ray-Jones, Director for the Hotline and loveisrespect, and Dyanne Purcell, CEO of the Hotline and loveisrespect at the reception.)

National Domestic Violence Hotline Awareness

Vice President Joe Biden Honors 15th Anniversary of VAWA

bidenWomen’s groups, including National Domestic Violence Hotline CEO Sheryl Cates, gathered at Vice President Joe Biden’s home Tuesday night to toast the 15th anniversary of landmark legislation aimed at eliminating violence against women.

“You’ve helped so many women step out of the darkness. You’ve helped so many young girls expect a different future, expect different treatment,” Biden said as he commemorated the 1994 Violence Against Women Act. “This is a day to celebrate. We have so much to be proud of.”

In addition to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, The National Women’s Law Center, FaithTrust Institute, National Network to End Domestic Violence and American Association of University Women were among the groups invited to the vice president’s residence, located on the grounds of the U.S. Naval Observatory in northwest Washington.

Biden recalled how domestic violence was once regarded as a private matter. “It wasn’t the business of the government. It’s a family matter,” he told about 100 guests. Advocates for women inspired a different attitude, he said.

The Violence Against Women Act, crafted by Biden while he served on the Senate Judiciary Committee as a senator from Delaware, led to more money for women’s shelters and law-enforcement training.

Domestic violence rates fell sharply between 1993 and 2004. The Bureau of Justice Statistics said that “intimate partner violence” rates fell by more than 50 percent, which some experts attributed to key elements of the 1994 law.

National Domestic Violence Hotline Blog

Chris Brown Guilty Plea

The following entry is written by New York Times best selling author and NDVH Celebrity Board member Leslie Morgan Steiner.

Steiner is the author of Crazy Love, a memoir about domestic violence, and the anthology Mommy Wars.  She writes a weekly column for Mommy Track’d.  To share your story as part of the Crazy Love Project, visit the author’s website at www.lesliemorgansteiner.com.

The Los Angeles County district attorney’s proceedings against musician Chris Brown for his alleged Grammy-eve assault of Robyn R. Fenty, more commonly known as the pop singer Rihanna, ended surprisingly gently last Monday given the five-month media frenzy that has surrounded the couple. Brown pled guilty and was sentenced to five years of probation and 1,400 hours of community service (cnn.com). Rihanna’s silence, however, has baffled and frustrated fans, prosecutors, and advocates within the domestic violence community. The horrific post-assault photo of the 21-year-old’s cut and bruised face, supposedly leaked by the Los Angeles police department, showed bruises across the singer’s face and head. Police statements describe Brown biting Rihanna and repeatedly threatening to kill her (cnn.com).

But Rihanna never called the police. She did not request a restraining order. She did not file a complaint. She did not testify against the man who assaulted her. She has never spoken publicly about the assault.

I understand why Rihanna has been so quiet.

I was sure I loved the man who abused me for four years, a brilliant, troubled Wall Street trader I met on the New York subway a few months after I graduated from Harvard (YouTube.com). The assault that ended our marriage took place nearly 20 years ago, but I too stayed silent because I wanted to protect my abuser, even after I knew he was capable of killing me. I was in shock, terrified, and broken physically and psychologically. Like Rihanna, I wanted the whole ugly mess to be invisible.

We hear a lot about domestic violence’s grim statistics, as we should.  According to The Family Violence Prevention Fund, three women are murdered in this country every day by intimate partners, and over five million women are assaulted each year.  More than 50% of people who abuse their partners also abuse their children.  In the months since Rihanna and Brown dominated the headlines, in my community alone there have been four murders, including two children killed by their father and a 19-year-old girl murdered by her boyfriend.  As a society, we need these numbers as evidence of the terrible cost we pay for tolerating domestic violence in our country and around the world.

What we need even more: to abandon our misguided expectations that it’s up to domestic victims to prosecute their abusers and to speak out publicly about the trauma they’ve suffered.

It is obviously unrealistic to expect batterers to make incriminating confessions. It is equally impractical to require Rihanna or any other battered women, immediately following a vicious assault, to prosecute a lover or family member. It’s bizarre that our society and criminal justice system expect women to do so. Family violence incidents must be investigated and prosecuted by local police and district attorneys – not victims. In order to break the cycle of violence, victims need this kind of aggressive intervention to free us to find our own happy endings.

Like most victims, there was no way I was strong enough to stand up for myself against the person who had seduced, manipulated, and terrorized me for years. The police left without cataloguing my injuries or pressing charges against my husband. Having survived the most brutal attack of my life at the hands of a man I loved, I did not have the ability to absorb what had happened, much less document the evidence and press charges myself. I barely had the courage to file a restraining order; filing charges against my ex-husband was beyond comprehension. Even though he deserved it. Even though I craved protection and justice.

Three years after I left my abusive husband, then-Senator Joseph Biden successfully championed the landmark Violence Against Women Act through Congress.  Nearly $2 billion has been allocated since then to raise awareness of the problems and costs of intimate partner violence, rape and sexual abuse against women; to fund physical, legal and emotional support to victims; and to train police and judicial officers who prosecute offenders. VAWA is up for renewal in 2010, championed by Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont and a plethora of bipartisan supporters and advocates.

I wish police had treated my apartment as a crime scene the last night I was beaten by my ex-husband, documenting the abuse and pressing charges.  Advocates needed to do for me what I could not do for myself. The pursuit of justice would have benefitted me – immediately — and our society over time by taking domestic violence seriously.

And if police had taken a photo, I’d still have it today — as a harsh warning of the dangers of abusive love.

Right in front of that photo, I’d place one of me now –  smiling, surrounded by my second husband and three young children, without bruises or scars to hide.  Another kind of evidence –  that victims can survive domestic violence and go on to rebuild our lives.  All we need is a little help.

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White House Advisor on Violence Against Women Appointed

160x120_lynn_rosenthalLynn Rosenthal was recently chosen as White House Advisor on Violence Against Women by President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. Rosenthal has been a champion in the movement against domestic and sexual violence for three decades and played a key advocacy role in the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. She currently serves as the Executive Director for the New Mexico Coalition Against Domestic Violence and and is a previous Executive Director of the National Network to End Domestic Violence and of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Rosenthal will advise President Obama and Biden, and work with government agencies including Justice, State, and Health to ensure that violence against women is addressed and the perpetrators are held accountable. Biden has said that creating the advisor position will allow the White House to revive its focus on domestic violence issues.

National Domestic Violence Hotline Awareness

Vice President Joe Biden Visits the Hotline

joe-bidenVice President Joe Biden made a visit to the National Domestic Violence Hotline and loveisrespect, National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline on Tuesday April 28, 2009 for a press event and tour of the facilities. This was his second visit to the organizations in six years. The Office on Violence Against Women Acting Director Catherine Pierce and Austin Mayor Will Wynn joined the Vice President at this event.

Vice President Joe Biden’s support for the National Domestic Violence Hotline and his vision for safe families has been unwavering. Biden is the author of the landmark Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA). The National Domestic Violence Hotline was established in 1996 as a component of VAWA passed by Congress.

VAWA changed the way law enforcement and the legal system handled domestic violence cases. VAWA provided $1.6 billion to enhance investigation and prosecution of the violent crime perpetrated against women, increased pre-trial detention of the accused and imposed automatic and mandatory restitution on those convicted. Biden also helped accomplish the reauthorization of the Act in 2005.

Nearly six years ago, Senator Biden recruited a core group of the nation’s leading technology companies to visit the Hotline and listen first-hand to crisis calls. The result of Biden’s first visit to the Hotline was a $2.7 million plan to replace existing technology with new systems integrating telephone technology with new computer and database technology. The advanced technology has helped save the lives of thousands of women, children and families.