History
Looking back to inform the future.

With nearly two-and-a-half decades of experience answering the call to support and shift power back to people affected by relationship abuse, the history of The Hotline is full of bold leadership and selfless advocacy.

We’re deeply grateful for the many advocates, partners, and supporters who have made our work possible over the years and who continue to support our mission today.

Key dates

September 13, 1994

President Bill Clinton signs the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which authorizes the creation of the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

August 17, 1995

The Texas Council on Family Violence receives a $1 million grant that establishes The Hotline.

February 21, 1996

The Hotline takes its first call.

October 28, 2000

President Clinton signs the reauthorization of VAWA, reaffirming support for The Hotline.

August 2, 2003

The Hotline takes its one millionth call. The contact is a survivor seeking shelter who, after being told by a local crisis line that all shelters are full, calls The Hotline, and finds a place to stay through support from an advocate.

October 2005

The Hotline finishes its Connections Campaign raising $2.7 million to build The Hotline’s technological capacity in order to answer more calls and provide better support to survivors.

September 26, 2006

Verizon Wireless offers direct connection to The Hotline through the #HOPE Initiative: dialing #HOPE from any Verizon Wireless phone instantly connects callers to The Hotline.

February 27, 2006

Then-Senator Joe Biden leads a press conference at The Hotline to mark its 10th anniversary, meeting with advocates to discuss technological improvements designed to help them respond to callers more effectively.

February 2006

The Hotline reaches a milestone of answering over 1.5 million calls.

February 8, 2007

The Hotline and Liz Claiborne Inc. announce the launch of loveisrespect.org, the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline.

October 21, 2008

The Hotline answers its two millionth call.

April 28, 2009

Vice President Biden visits The Hotline and love is respect for a press event and tour of the organization, his second visit in six years.

October 13, 2009

The Hotline and Marshalls launch the Shop ‘til It Stops campaign with fundraising and awareness events in Los Angeles and New York.

November 22, 2010

The Hotline ranks in the ‘Top 10 Best Places to Work’ in a report conducted by the Austin American Statesman and Workplace Dynamics; The Hotline is the only social services nonprofit ranked in the Top 10.

January 27, 2011

National Football League (NFL) Commissioner Roger Goodell joins The Hotline to raise awareness about domestic violence and to celebrate the Hotline’s 15th anniversary. Dallas Cowboys superstar Jason Witten and baseball great Joe Torre kick off the yearlong campaign along with other high-profile sports figures.

February 8, 2011

The Hotline joins forces with Break the Cycle to expand loveisrespect.org. This partnership creates the definitive online resource to engage and empower teens through advocacy around dating abuse awareness.

September 26, 2011

love is respect announces the nation’s first dating abuse text service. Then-Vice President Biden sends the service’s inaugural text to peer advocate Whitney Laas.

January 29, 2013

At a special congressional briefing, The Hotline announces it expects to reach three million calls almost a year earlier than predicted — while not a cause for celebration, this milestone highlights the vital role that The Hotline continues to play in assisting survivors of domestic violence.

March 7, 2013

President Barack Obama reauthorizes VAWA, with provisions extending the protections of Native American women and LGBTQ+ people.

October 2013

The Hotline launches live chat services sponsored by Verizon. Then-Vice President Biden visits The Hotline to premiere the service.

September 2014

The NFL announces a partnership with The Hotline and other national organizations to support services and spread awareness about domestic violence.

July 15, 2015

The Hotline celebrates the grand opening of its new digital services office in Washington, DC through support from the US Department of Health and Human Services, the US Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime, and our partners at the NFL and Mary Kay Inc.

February 21, 2016

The Hotline commemorates 20 years serving people affected by domestic violence across the United States.

June 22, 2016

The Hotline answers its four millionth contact.

May 8, 2019

The Hotline answers its five millionth contact.