AUSTIN (KXAN) — Over the past 20 years an estimated four million people have reached out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline for help.
As the number of domestic violence victims continues to grow in Austin, the hotline has moved its headquarters to a new location to serve more of the community. The new office in South Austin features technological advancements to enable victims the ability to ask for help via call or chat.
“They will spend less time waiting for an advocate to answer that call,” explains Katie Ray-Jones, the CEO for the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
Every second counts during an abusive situation, like the murder-suicide that left La Kiesha Glass and Sal McIntosh dead.
“It’s shocking, but in one aspect it’s not,” says Troy Brucken, who lived next door to the couple.
Neighbors say they often heard Glass and McIntosh arguing. Now their child is left alone.
The hotline is encouraging family members to call with concerns before it’s too late.
“We saw an increase in that when we offered services via chat. Teenagers and young children asking for help, ‘how do I help my mom?'” explains Ray-Jones.
The center now has the technology to take on more of those chats and calls, 24 hours a day.
“Often times people will call us back and say ‘thank you, you changed my life,’ or ‘that resource was really helpful’ or they call back and say ‘I wasn’t ready to leave yet and now I am ready to leave,'” says Ray-Jones.
The new center also includes “zen” rooms, offering a place for employees to escape and mentally recharge. A wellness area will also house a gym and showers.
Ray-Jones said “We’re really excited today, this is our official grand opening of our new offices here in Austin. We serve the whole entire country here at the National Domestic Violence Hotline from this headquarters here.”
If you want to talk with someone with the hotline, call 1-800-799-SAFE, or you can visit them online to start a “chat” conversation.