For the first time in history, a culturally-relevant, safe and confidential resource is available for Native American survivors of domestic violence and dating violence, who now make up more than 84 percent of the entire U.S. Native population. The National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC) and The Hotline have launched the first, national crisis line dedicated to serving tribal communities affected by violence across the U.S., called the StrongHearts Native Helpline.
By Katie Ray-Jones, CEO. Originally published at Huffington Post.
Over the last 24 hours, we’ve all heard reports that officers from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested an undocumented woman in El Paso, Texas, who had just received a protective order against her abusive partner. According to reports, ICE officers followed the woman into the hallway after her hearing, and appear to have been acting on a tip from her abusive partner as to her whereabouts.
This arrest sets a dangerous precedent and creates a chilling effect for all immigrant survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, further marginalizing them as they consider turning to law enforcement or the courts for help. Furthermore, it undermines protections in the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) that protect the confidentiality of immigrant victims and prevent ICE from engaging in enforcement activities in sensitive locations, such as a courthouse where a victim is seeking an order of protection.
By Katie Ray-Jones, CEO of The Hotline
What a week and year we have had. Today, I am reminded that the fate of victims and survivors of relationship abuse does not depend on one person or one election. Real change happens when we have the courage to reach out to one another. When we have the courage to say, “I need help,” to someone else. When we realize that we can only go so far alone, but together we can go even further.
Domestic violence knows no party lines. It does not discriminate against age, gender, income or status. It touches all of us.
In 1994, the bipartisan Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) acknowledged these facts. VAWA created what we now know today as the National Domestic Violence Hotline. When we work together, we are able to achieve so much more for victims and survivors. Let us all remember this.
Read the full post on Medium.
A message from Katie Ray-Jones, CEO of The Hotline
“I really needed to hear these words. Thank you, a thousand times over.”
Thank you. These are two very powerful words that we often hear from victims, survivors and their loved ones every day. Now, I want to pass these words to you, along with survivors’ stories of triumph and gratitude.
Today, the U.S. Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) announced that the National Domestic Violence Hotline is receiving a National Crime Victim Service Award. This award recognizes individuals and organizations from across the nation that are leading efforts to advance victim services and victims’ rights.
Hotline CEO Katie Ray-Jones was in Washington, DC to accept the award on behalf of the more than 200 staff members who work every day to shift power back to those affected by relationship abuse. “We do this work for the survivor who told an advocate, ‘I have been afraid to ask for help for 16 years. This is the first time I have reached out…It gives me hope I never thought could be.’ We do this work so that someone is there the first time and every time a person reaches out for support,” she said.
The Hotline, which is commemorating 20 years of service this year, operates as a 24/7 lifeline for victims and survivors of domestic violence nationwide. Since 1996, we have answered over 3.8 million calls, chats and texts from those seeking support, resources and hope. In 2015, The Hotline opened an office in Washington, DC, to expand our digital services capabilities and establish a base from which to advocate for policies that protect and support survivors. We continue to explore innovative ways to increase our outreach, particularly to underserved communities.
The Hotline would like to congratulate our fellow 2016 award winners and express our deepest thanks to the Office for Victims of Crime for their ongoing support and recognition. Together, we will continue to work toward a world where all relationships are positive, healthy and free from violence.
Watch the OVC’s tribute video for The Hotline:
This is a special message from Katie Ray-Jones, CEO of The Hotline
For almost 20 years, The Hotline has been dedicated to answering every phone call, chat and text from domestic violence victims and their loved ones. Because of our community of supporters, in 2015 we are closer to making sure no call for help goes unanswered. In fact, we’ve answered 92,355 more contacts in 2015 than 2014. So far this year, we’ve answered 300,655 calls for help, and we’re still counting.
That’s thousands of lives changed, thanks to support from our donors and partners.
These are truly amazing numbers, but this story from our advocate Angela has reminded me of the importance of helping one person, in that one moment in life:
I recently chatted with Samantha*, a young teenager, whose mother had just come into the room crying, because the girl’s father had hit her. Samantha was scared and confused.
Her mom had told her not to call the police or tell anyone what was going on. We talked about situations when she might consider calling the police, and we discussed why her mom might be concerned. We also went through safety planning for future situations where her father becomes violent.
Samantha didn’t understand why her dad hit her mom. So we talked about abuse, how it differs from healthy relationships, and why her mom might not want to leave. We talked about how none of what is happening is her, her siblings’, or her mom’s fault, and about how she can support her mom.
At the end of the conversation, she said, “Thank you so much for all of the help and information. I really appreciate you talking to me about all of this. Thank you so much, again.”
For many of us the holiday season is filled with joy and laughter with family and loved ones. Unfortunately, for victims and survivors of domestic violence, like Samantha, it’s often filled with terror.
Thank you for your generous support of our work. I wish you and your loved ones peace and safety in the new year!
Today I am proud to announce that I have joined the Women’s Coalition for Common Sense, a new coalition founded by former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her organization, Americans for Responsible Solutions. This coalition brings together women leaders from across industries who share a commitment to combating gun violence and domestic abuse. In its work, the coalition will focus on advocating for action on commonsense laws that protect women and families from gun violence, and address the lethal links between access to guns and domestic violence. Our goals are to:
- Prevent stalkers and abusers from having easy access to guns;
- Close the background check loopholes in our federal laws that let felons and domestic abusers legally buy and own firearms; and,
- Strengthen existing laws and ensure lawmakers and stakeholders have the resources and training they need to prevent and address gun violence against women.
Firearms have always been part of the story of domestic violence and what abusive partners can do to their intimate partners. Women in the United States are eleven times more likely to be murdered by a gun than women in other high-income countries, and abused women are five times more likely to be killed by their abuser if the abuser owns a firearm. In 36 states, more than half of intimate partner-related homicides of women in each state involved a gun.
Our advocates hear shocking stories every day. What becomes clear from these stories is that firearms violence is not just about homicides. It is a tool that abusive partners use to control and torture their intimate partners. In our 2014 survey on the use of firearms in domestic violence situations, 67% of respondents believed their partner was capable of killing them, which creates enough fear to keep victims from leaving. Of the respondents whose partners had access to guns, more than 1 in 5 said their partners had threatened to use a firearm to hurt the victims, their children, pets or other family members.
Knowing these numbers, and with other instances of gun violence continually in the headlines, the time for action is now. We need everyone in the community – including employers – to be aware of this deadly issue and understand how they have a role to play, whether they are a business or faith leader, someone who provides housing in the community, someone who provides financial assistance, or someone who is a good friend or work colleague willing to support the survivor as she tries to deal with the violence.
If there were a rash of burglaries or muggings in our communities, we’d be advocating for police and the courts to take action. Firearms violence in intimate partner relationships is another crime that we shouldn’t accept as something that just happens.
We can change this. We can help victims become survivors. We can’t afford to do nothing. We need to act now.
Learn how you can get involved at Americans for Responsible Solutions.
Katie Ray-Jones is the CEO of the National Domestic Violence Hotline and loveisrespect.
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:
Today 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:
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.”
The 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 thehotline.org 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 www.avonfoundation.org for more information.
GIFT WILL INCREASE CAPACITY TO SERVE MORE VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
April 15, 2013 – The National Domestic Violence Hotline (NDVH) announced that it has received a
$200,000 gift for 2013 from the Avon Foundation for Women to support NDVH’s efforts to answer
calls from domestic violence victims, friends and family members. Every day of the week, 24 hours a
day, NDVH has highly trained expert advocates available to talk confidentially with anyone affected by
domestic violence. NDVH provides callers with lifesaving tools and immediate support to enable victims
to find safety and live their lives free of abuse.
The gift is funding two new part-time advocate positions, which have just been filled, as well as
additional relief advocates, including bilingual advocates, to help respond to thousands of calls from
victims, their families and friends and even abusers. 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 for Women’s Speak out Against Domestic Violence program is proud to be a long-
time supporter of the National Domestic Violence Hotline in its fight to end domestic violence,” said
Avon Foundation for Women President Carol Kurzig. “We are honored that our gift will directly affect
those who are calling the hotline for assistance with domestic violence, further extending the number of
calls the hotline is able to answer annually and bringing support to those who need it most.”
In 2012, nearly 53,000 calls for help to NDVH went unanswered due to a lack of resources. “In addition to our inability to answer every call, we have noticed a significant increase in Spanish-speaking calls to our emergency hotline and this grant will help us better meet the need for additional bilingual advocates to answer those calls,” said Katie Ray Jones, president of the National Domestic Violence Hotline. “We are so grateful to the Avon Foundation for Women for their generous support for 16 years and their continued partnership with us in the fight to end domestic violence.”
Currently, many Spanish-speaking calls to the emergency hotline are being routed to an outside
language interpretation service. By keeping these calls inside, NDVH can provide a seamless service to
callers as well as a decrease in the call waiting time. With the 2012 Avon gift, the emergency hotline
was able to answer 31,522 calls.
About The National Domestic Violence Hotline
Operating around the clock, seven days a week, 24/7, confidential and free of cost, the National
Domestic Violence Hotline (NDVH) provides lifesaving tools and immediate support to enable victims
to find safety and live lives free of abuse. Callers to the emergency hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
can expect highly trained experienced advocates to offer compassionate support, crisis intervention
information and referral services in more than 170+ languages. Visitors to www.NDVH.org can find
information about domestic violence, safety planning, local resources, and ways to support the
organization. NDVH is part of the largest nationwide network of programs and expert resources and
regularly shares insight about domestic violence with government officials, law enforcement agencies,
media and the general public. NDVH is a non-profit organization established in 1996 as a component of
the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). It relies on the generous support of individuals, private gifts
from corporations and foundations and federal grants. For more information, visit www.NDVH.org or
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 the end of 2012, the
Avon Foundation for Women has donated $33 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 www.avonfoundation.org for more information.
March 4, 2013 – Katie Ray-Jones, President of the National Domestic Violence Hotline (NDVH) and the National Dating Abuse Helpline (NDAH) issued a statement today regarding t-shirts offered for sale by the company, Solid Gold Bomb on Amazon’s UK website. The t-shirts that were available for sale up until last week read, “Keep Calm and Rape On” and “Keep Calm and Hit Her.” The founder of the company that offered the shirts for sale has expressed his apologies and has accepted responsibility for the computer error he created that ultimately resulted in the offensive t-shirts available for sale on Amazon. You can see the founder’s apology at
www.solidgoldbomb.com. The t-shirt options have been removed from the company’s website and all Amazon channels worldwide.
“Every day, we receive approximately 600 calls from men and women in crisis. Intimate partner violence affects nearly one in every
four women and one in every seven men. It is never okay and it should never be trivialized. We are, therefore, encouraged by the level of outrage expressed by the global community over the potential sale of these offensive t-shirts. We are glad none were ever sold. The founder of the company whose admitted carelessness resulted in the generation of the slogans has expressed his sincere apologies for his mistake. We are satisfied by his apology and efforts by the company and Amazon to swiftly correct the issue by removing the t-shirts for sale on all channels worldwide.” – Katie Ray-Jones, President of the National Domestic Violence Hotline and National Dating Abuse Helpline.
If you would like to interview a spokesperson about domestic violence, please contact Liz Bradford at 512.685.6298 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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