An Overview: National Domestic Violence Hotline
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Although many find comfort and sanctuary within their own home, others do not because of physical violence by a partner. By U.S. Department of Justice estimates, approximately 1.3 million women and 835,000 men endure physical violence by the action of a partner every year. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is an outstanding resource for individuals to call for help and guidance if they are experiencing domestic abuse.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline’s mission is to answer the call to support and shift power back to those affected by relationship abuse. The Hotline is operated 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. When an individual calls the Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, a highly-trained expert advocate is on the other end of the line to provide confidential support, advice, education, and even referral information. The Hotline’s experts complete extensive training before being tasked with answering the phone. Additionally, the Hotline’s advocates also complete training that enables them to better assist family members and friends who may reach out and utilize the Hotline’s services because they are concerned about a loved one. To date, the Hotline has answered over 5 million calls and continues to be an invaluable resource thanks to support donations and federal grants.
Begun in 1996, the Hotline will be celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2021. Since its inception, the Hotline has grown into an invaluable resource for individuals who have experienced or are experiencing domestic abuse. Not only can individuals call the Hotline, but now there is also an online chat feature that enables individuals to message an advocate, in addition to the Hotline’s website containing a wealth of information. For example, the Hotline’s website contains a “Plan for Safety” section that provides brief overviews of how individuals can protect themselves on their path to long-term safety from their abuser. As the holidays are quickly approaching, individuals should take time to review the section that covers holiday safety planning since this is often a stressful time for victims of domestic violence abuse.
Want to get involved with the National Domestic Violence Hotline? Not only can you submit a monetary donation through the Hotline’s website, but you can also become involved by participating in other measures. For one, if you yourself are a survivor of domestic abuse, the Hotline is always looking for individuals to share their stories to provide hope for others. Additionally, you can sign up for the Hotline’s Action Center, which is now more crucial than ever during COVID-19. By signing up for the Action Center, you can communicate survivors’ needs to Congress. The Hotline needs individuals to call their Congress members to urge them to address the needs of survivors in the next COVID-19 Stimulus Package. Lastly, you can use #DomesticViolenceAwareness in your social media posts to spread the word during the month of October.