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National Domestic Violence Hotline Blog

Technology Safety for Survivors

Technology safety is a very important issue in the domestic violence community. Technological advances have great benefits but there are also drawbacks and caution must be used, especially when communicating online.  People often don’t realize that the information they post online may reveal more about themselves than they intend. We sat down with an expert in the field to get insight and tips on safety. The following is our short question and answer session:

Where did you learn about online safety?

The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) provides a great training program called Safety Net: the National Safe and Strategic Technology Project. Safety Net educates victims, their advocates and the general public on ways to use technology strategically to help find safety and escape domestic violence, sexual violence and stalking.

What advice do you have about internet browsing safety?

The most important thing to remember is to use a safe computer, one that the abuser has absolutely no access to. You can use a computer at the public library, at a friend’s place, a local internet cafe, etc. The reason for this is that everything you do on a computer can be tracked. Clearing the browsing history is not enough of a precaution because abusers can install spyware on your computer to track your usage even if they no longer have physical access to the computer.

What are some best practices for communicating safely online in regards to disclosure of personal information?

It is always best to disclose as little as possible online. You never know who may be reading what you write. Do not write anything you would not want an abuser to know. Think before sharing  any information about yourself or others that can identify you, including  names, specific locations, or any other unique personal information. It is also important to understand that email is not a secure form of communication; it can be tracked. Sending emails should be treated in the same manner you would treat sending postcards, they can end up anywhere and anyone can read them.

What are some other general tips you would like to share?

The following are some general tips provided by NNEDV:

Trust your instincts: If you suspect an abusive person knows too much, it  is possible that your phone, computer, email or other activities are being monitored.

Create a new email account: If you suspect that anyone abusive can access your email, consider creating an additional email account on a safer computer. Do not create or check this new email from a computer your abuser could access, in case it is monitored.

Change passwords and pin numbers: Some abusers use victim’s email and other accounts to impersonate and cause harm. If anyone abusive knows or may guess your passwords, change them quickly and frequently.

Use a donated or new cell phone:  When making or receiving private calls or arranging escape plans, try not to use a shared or family cell phone because cell phone bill records and phone logs might reveal your plans to an abuser.

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.

announcement

Verizon Wireless Offers Direct Connection To National Domestic Violence Hotline Through The #Hope Initiative

BASKING RIDGE, N.J. – In times of danger, domestic violence victims need access to resources that will provide assistance, and are easily accessible and secure.  Verizon Wireless encourages any victim or anyone looking for information on the issue to dial #HOPE from any Verizon Wireless phone.  Callers will be instantly connected to the National Domestic Violence Hotline for professional and confidential help. The call is toll and airtime free.

“We see about 1,500 calls to #HOPE each year, driving home the importance of wireless phones for domestic violence victims who use wireless technology to connect to the help they need,” said Denny Strigl, president and CEO of Verizon Wireless. “For the past 10 years, the National Domestic Violence Hotline has served as a safe haven for people touched by domestic violence, and Verizon Wireless is proud to provide our customers with this resource to get help and information.”

#HOPE is a service available across Verizon Wireless’ nationwide wireless network through the company’s HopeLine® phone recycling program. Customers simply dial the keys (#4673) plus the send key to be directly connected to the National Domestic Violence Hotline where they can receive the help they need through empowerment-based crisis intervention, information and resources. Since 1996, the Hotline has answered 1.5 million calls and responds to 17,000 calls on average each month.  More than a simple toll free number, the Hotline is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and can provide its services in more than 140 languages at 1-800-799-SAFE or on the web at www.ndvh.org.

“Since its inception, the Hotline has become the vital link to safety for victims of domestic violence and their families, with call volume increasing over 200 percent over the past ten years,” said Sheryl Cates, chief executive officer of the National Domestic Violence Hotline.  “#HOPE from Verizon Wireless brings increased access to the Hotline and a valuable sense of security to those in need by enabling them to quickly and easily use their wireless phones to connect to resources for safety and independence.”

#HOPE is one initiative in Verizon Wireless’ long-standing commitment to domestic violence prevention through the company’s HopeLine program.  HopeLine collects wireless phones and accessories from any wireless service provider, and then refurbishes the phones or recycles them in an environmentally sound way. Proceeds from the HopeLine program benefit victims of domestic violence and non-profit advocacy agencies, providing essential communication tools of wireless phones and wireless services, and financial grants.

For more information about Verizon Wireless’s HopeLine program, visit www.verizonwireless.com/hopeline.
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About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless owns and operates the nation’s most reliable wireless network, serving 54.8 million voice and data customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). Find more information on the Web at www.verizonwireless.com.  To preview and request broadcast-quality video footage and high-resolution stills of Verizon Wireless operations, log on to the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Debra Lewis
Verizon Wireless
908.559.7512
Debra.Lewis@VerizonWireless.com