Last Wednesday I joined Vice President Joe Biden, White House Advisor on Violence Against Women Lynn Rosenthal, Director of Family Violence Prevention and Services Program Marylouise Kelley, and Mariska Hargitay, founder of the Joyful Heart Foundation, at the National Domestic Violence Hotline in Austin, TX to announce a $500,000 grant from OVW to continue support of the National Dating Abuse Helpline.
The National Dating Abuse Helpline, launched in February 2007 in partnership with Liz Claiborne, Inc., was developed in response to the growing number of teens who were calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline. Through the Helpline’s experiences it become abundantly clear that youth and young adults struggle to navigate an advocacy and judicial system that was originally designed for adults. In 2010, the Helpline formalized a partnership with Break the Cycle and in Fall 2011 loveisrespect.org was launched. Loveisrespect.org is an invaluable resource for teens and young adults to find information on healthy relationships, dating basics, and signs of abuse.
Since OVW made its first award to the Helpline in 2009, we have seen its hours and services expanded so that teens and young adults can reach a trained peer advocate 24 hours a day by phone, text, or chat. In 2011 the Helpline became the nation’s first organization to provide assistance via text messaging and each year the Helpline reaches 18,000 youth and young adults via text messaging.
OVW is proud to continue our support of this critical service that reaches over 40,000 teen and young adult victims and survivors every year. The Helpline estimates 12,000 callers utilize phone services and 28,000 youth and young adults are reached via online chat services. With nearly 1.5 million high school students experiencing dating violence each year we must work together to end this violence.
We are fortunate to have the unwavering support of Vice President Biden and the entire Obama Administration in calling for an end to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Earlier this year OVW announced twenty grants made under the Consolidated Youth Grant Program. OVW’s Consolidated Youth grantees are providing services to children and youth exposed to violence, training teachers, coaches, and professionals to improve responses, and developing innovative prevention strategies that encourage men and boys to work as allies with women and girls to prevent domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking.
Working together, we can end this epidemic and prevent violence before it begins.
To learn more about teen dating violence and what you can do, please visit www.loveisrespect.org.
The Helpline provides confidential objective one-to-one peer support through phones, text, and chat. Services are available 24/7, 365 days a year. Text “loveis” to 22522 or call 1-866-331-9474 to be connected with a peer advocate.