National Domestic Violence Hotline Recognizes Tragic Milestone of Answering 6 Millionth Contact
AUSTIN, TX – On December 30 at 2:22 AM CST, the National Domestic Violence Hotline (“The Hotline”) answered its 6 millionth contact since its inception in February of 1996. The 6 millionth contact was a chat answered by Dana, a digital advocate. The chatter identified as a woman from Ohio who was experiencing a complex abusive situation. The Hotline is the only 24/7 hotline specifically dedicated to those impacted by relationship abuse in the United States via live call, chat and text (referred to as contacts).
“This bittersweet milestone demonstrates that The Hotline and the support we provide to survivors is urgently and increasingly needed. It is troubling how quickly we reached this milestone and how many people continue to experience domestic violence,” said Katie Ray-Jones, CEO of the National Domestic Violence Hotline. “The number of survivors reaching out for support each year is growing. The time it takes to answer one million contacts continues to get shorter as demand for our services increases – it took nearly seven and a half years to answer our first million, and just over two and a half years to answer the latest.”
The Hotline’s mission is to support and shift power back to those who are impacted by relationship abuse. Since 1996, we have kept our lines open 24/7 for anyone who needs us – and six million people have connected with our advocates to receive support, connection to resources and hope for a safer future.
Since the onset of COVID-19 survivors have faced additional risks and barriers to support, including increased isolation – many are forced to isolate with the one causing them harm – housing instability, economic effects and increased need for legal services and individual professional counseling. In an analysis of its COVID-19 contact data from March 16, 2020 – March 15, 2021, The Hotline found:
· 23,056 of those reaching out to The Hotline specifically cited COVID-19 as a condition of their experience.
· 35% of those contacts experienced financial abuse, including an abusive partner monitoring their purchases, preventing them from working, and/or restricting access to money like stimulus checks.
· Since 2016, housing instability as a contact concern has grown by an average of 20% annually.
· The Hotline saw a 19% increase in requests for referrals to individual professional counseling during COVID-19 year over year.
“As we connect with millions of survivors throughout the United States, we see their strength. Reaching out for support is brave and our organization works to transfer power back to all those impacted by relationship abuse,” said Cheri Epps, Vice President of Program Services. “We will continue to be here to empower survivors with resources, support and hope that a safer future is possible, for the next million and beyond.