On Wednesday, President Clinton inaugurated a national domestic violence hotline at a White House ceremony. Having intervened as a teen-ager after his step-father beat his mother, Clinton was visibly moved as survivors of domestic violence told their stories of fear and of the need for advocacy when members of the clergy, the health profession, and the police force could not be trusted to act on the problem.
The Health and Human Services Department provided a $1 million grant to the Texas Council on Family Violence to establish the computerized hotline as a result of the passage of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994. The hotline will be staffed 24 hours a day by trained counselors who can provide crisis assistance and information about shelters, legal advocacy, health care centers, and counseling.
Also on Wednesday, the American Psychological Association announced that domestic violence has reached “epidemic proportions. Members spoke as a presidential task force unveiled recommendations for intervention programs in schools, churches and hospitals.
The domestic violence hotline began operating Wednesday morning and took more than 60 calls in its first few hours. The toll-free number is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). There is also a toll-free number for the hearing-impaired, 1-800-787-3224.
Domestic Violence Information Center