New hotline removes barriers for domestic violence victims

Photo courtesy: H.E.R. Shelter

This week Hampton Roads’ four regional domestic violence shelters are coming together to announce a new hotline and response system that will make getting help easier for victims.

For years the shelters have worked together to serve victims. Now, with the help of a grant from the Hampton Roads Community Foundation, the HER shelters in Portsmouth and Chesapeake, the Genieve shelter in Suffolk, Samaritan House and the YWCA of South Hampton Roads, are joining forces to provide help to all with one simple call.

“If you’re in danger you call one number (757) 251-0144,” said YWCA of South Hampton Roads President and CEO, Mary Kate Andris.

The YWCA is taking the lead on the project which is called “Coordinated Crisis Response.”

“This is the first collaboration we have been able to find in the nation where you can call one hotline, not have to tell your story over and over and over again, and get connected to crisis services,” YWCA Chief Program Officer  Kristen Pine told

Volunteers can take calls anytime, anywhere from their cell phones.  When they enter information into a  new common electronic case management system they’ll see where beds are available and connect victims to services including counseling, court advocates, medical help and more.

“It has a lot of moving parts, it’s complicated on the back-end but wow when you look at the difference this will make for victims it just makes sense,” Pine said.

Local police and hospitals are on board as well as the Department of Homeland Security.  They respond to human trafficking cases. The shelters report those cases are up 54 percent this year.  Domestic violence calls are also on the rise.  The shelters saw a 47 percent jump in the first week of July over the same week last year.  Advocates told 10 On Your Side this proves the need for this coordinated response is now.

The hotline is already working, but the official launch will be on Friday. Attorney General Mark Herring among others will be in Norfolk for the ceremony at 11 a.m.

Again, the hotline number is: (757) 251-0144