WASHINGTON, D.C. – June 19, 2019 – The National Domestic Violence Hotline (The Hotline) received more calls, online chats, and texts, also known as “contacts”, in 2018 than in any other year since the organization’s inception according to internal data collection. At a congressional briefing in the nation’s capital today, leaders and partners of The Hotline and its relationship abuse prevention project, loveisrespect, shared results of the organization’s annual impact report with legislators and their staff members. In A YEAR OF IMPACT: National Domestic Violence Hotline and loveisrespect the organization reports it received 573,670 contacts from people affected by domestic violence (DV), an increase of 36% from 2017. Additionally, researchers saw a 48% increase in website visits to TheHotline.org and loveisrespect.org combined and a 147% increase in the number of people reaching out for help via chat. These last two statistics indicate more victims, survivors, their helpers, and others are finding ways beyond the phone to secure the support and information they need.
Established in 1996 and headquartered in Austin, Texas, The Hotline is the only national 24-hour domestic violence hotline providing compassionate support, life-saving resources, and safety planning services via phone, online chat, and text. In 2007, The Hotline established loveisrespect, an initiative that engages, educates, and empowers young people to prevent and end abusive relationships.
Chief Executive Officer of The National Domestic Violence Hotline Katie Ray-Jones attributes the increase in contacts to media and pop culture’s focus on the pervasiveness of violence in relationships. “The report shows that together, The Hotline and loveisrespect received four times the increase in media coverage in 2018 as compared to 2017. With greater awareness of this issue that affects ¹one in four women and one in seven men, we’re seeing more people affected by abuse taking brave steps forward and seeking support. It’s important we continue to shine a light on domestic violence. We all play a role in ending it.”
According to the report, the number one resource referral type in 2018 fell under the category of legal resources. If and when they decide to leave their abusive partner, many victims want to know what their rights and protections are in their cities and states. In 2018, advocates provided 156,157 referrals to shelter and domestic violence service providers and 213,926 referrals to additional resources across the nation. WomensLaw.org and the Legal Resource Center on Violence Against Women are two of the top resources provided.
One of The Hotline’s expert advocates, Alexis, is on the front lines answering the calls for support. During the briefing, she shared what her work day is like. She talked about the feeling she gets knowing that she’s helping to equip victims with the tools they’ll need to find safety and that she’s empowering them with hope. “I appreciate the opportunity to be on the other end, helping and spreading awareness on domestic violence and the different types of abuse. It’s our job to offer compassionate support and walk victims through their options, whether it be for shelter or legal services or counseling services.”
The 2018 Impact Report by the numbers:
- 22% (similar to 2017) reported that their abusive situation involved children
- 13,625 victims experienced stalking
- 7,482 cited suicidal threats from their abusive partners
- 4.7% (up 1.1% from 2017) of victims disclosed the use or threat of firearms
- 4,565 victims experienced threats related to immigration status
Types of domestic violence and dating abuse most discussed in contacts (calls, chats, texts) with The Hotline and loveisrespect:
- Emotional Abuse: 88% (up 2% from 2017) reported some type of emotional and verbal abuse. Emotionally abusive partners often exert power and control over their partners by limiting who their partners see, what they do, and where they go. They instill shame and fear and often demean their partners with insults, threats, and punishments that slowly eat away at their partner’s self-worth. Emotional abusers may prevent their partners from making decisions, and sometimes they prevent them from working outside of the home or seeing family and friends – isolating them.
- Physical Abuse: 60% (no change from 2017) reported some type of physical abuse such as hitting, biting, and choking. Physical abuse is often what most people think about when we use the term domestic violence.
- Financial Abuse: 24% (up 2% from 2017) reported their abusers were stealing money or limiting access to money, using their partner’s credit cards or forcing their partners to co-sign on lines of credit. Some forced their partners to open joint accounts and preventing them from opening separate accounts or having access to their own money.
- Digital Abuse: 15% (up 3% from 2017) reported digital abuse including using GPS or a phone to stalk their partners or track their travel, sending relentless text messages, closely monitoring computer use and using cameras in the home to monitor activities. The digital abuse category adapts as innovations in technology expand.
- Sexual Abuse: 11% (up 1% from 2017) reported that abusive partners may do things such as forcing unwanted sexual activity, involving other people in sexual activities without permission, forced viewing of pornography or demanding their partner wear sexually explicit clothing.
For more information on the 2018 Impact Report and The National Domestic Violence Hotline, please visit www.thehotline.org. Follow The Hotline on Facebook, on Twitter @ndvh, and on Instagram @ndvhofficial. Visit www.loveisrespect.org and follow loveisrespect on Facebook, on Twitter @loveisrespect, and on Instagram @loveisrespectofficial.