Speaking to a crowd of about 50 (including Law and Order: SVU’s Mariska Hargitay), Vice President Joe Biden spoke on the campus of the National Domestic Violence Hotline in Austin on Wednesday, October 30.
After relaying some frightening statistics (1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men will be victims of abuse in their lifetime), Biden unveiled the NDVH’s new plans to implement a mobile texting service and add a chat feature to their website.
The hotline, which was established in 1994 as part of the Violence Against Women Act, allows those needing help to anonymously call in and speak to an advocate, a professional who performs crisis intervention, referrals, safety planning and domestic violence education. Most of the calls come from Texas, California, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Michigan, Arizona, Georgia and North Carolina.
The new services are aimed at better helping young people ages 14-25. While overall violence against women is down, abuse of women in that age range is on the rise. “Young women today are more comfortable talking via chat and text,” explained Biden. Now, in addition to the hotline (which takes about 265,000 calls from across the country every year), those seeking help can text or chat directly with an advocate.
Though NDVH receives $3.2 million in federal funding, the hotline is still unable to take about 52,000 calls every single year. And so with a $250,000 donation from Verizon — and an additional $500,000 Eric Holder managed to carve out from the Justice Department budget — the NDVH is hoping to bridge that gap with these new services.
For more information about the hotline and its services, please go to the NDVH website.