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SOURCE The National Domestic Violence Hotline
Verizon donates $250,000 to help launch online chat service
AUSTIN, Texas, Oct. 29, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Domestic Violence Hotline (NDVH) announced today that visitors to TheHotline.org looking for information or help will now be able to chat live online with advocates thanks to a $250,000 donation from Verizon, through its HopeLine program. The organization also learned that it has the opportunity to receive an additional $250,000 in matching funds through a national wireless phone drive.
HopeLine from Verizon collects no-longer-used cell phones and accessories in any condition from any service provider and turns them into support for domestic violence prevention organizations and local shelters in the form of cash grants, and wireless phones with text and voice service.
Last fall, Verizon Foundation funded a six week pilot program to test demand for chat services. During the pilot stage, out of 22,500 visitors to TheHotline.org, 98 percent of those invited to chat online with an advocate took advantage of the option. The technology allows the Hotline's trained advocates, who are in communication with the person seeking help, to quickly link that person to resources on the NDVH website or provide them with information about local resources available to them.
"The test phase proved that the need to provide online help is significant," said Katie Ray-Jones, president of the NDVH. "More and more people are turning to online and digital resources for information on domestic abuse than ever before."
According to Google Analytics, traffic on the organization's website is up by 30 percent since September 2012, with more than 1 million unique visits to these key pages.
"Verizon leverages its technology and resources to help solve critical social issues," said Torod Neptune, chief communications officer for Verizon Wireless. "Partnering with NDVH to launch this online service will now provide victims with yet another way to get the help they need when they need it in the way they want it."
NDVH recently answered its three millionth call, however last year 52,000 calls to the hotline went unanswered because of a lack of resources. "Verizon has always been a leader in supporting domestic violence services that directly impact victims and survivors. We are grateful for their generous gift that will enable us to extend our reach to victims by offering them another option for accessing resources that could save their lives," said Katie Ray-Jones, president of NDVH.
A call to action
NDVH in partnership with Verizon is encouraging the public to lead a HopeLine drive in their community and collect no-longer-used cell phones and accessories. Proceeds from the drives will benefit the Hotline and support victims and survivors of domestic violence. Learn more about how you can help here.
About The National Domestic Violence Hotline
Operating around the clock, seven days a week, confidential and free of cost, the National Domestic Violence Hotline (NDVH) provides lifesaving tools and immediate support to enable victims to find safety and live lives free of abuse. Callers to the hotline, 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) can expect highly trained experienced advocates to offer compassionate support, crisis intervention information and referral services in more than 170+ languages. Visitors to www.TheHotline.org can chat with an advocate Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. - 7 p.m. CT to find information about domestic violence, safety planning, local resources, and ways to support the organization.
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