Coalition For Family Harmony | New Campaign Encourages Bystanders to Report Domestic Violence
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New Campaign Encourages Bystanders to Report Domestic Violence

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New Campaign Encourages Bystanders to Report Domestic Violence


Rather than urge victims to come forward, a new family-violence awareness campaign focuses on the bystanders – friends, family and others – who see or suspect abuse.


The Center for Family Safety and Healing says the effort launched yesterday appears unprecedented in scope and approach. Dubbed “Where’s the Line?,” it encourages the public to dial, text or send an instant message for information and resources on how best to respond and help.


“We’ve always done campaigns that basically target victims,” said Karen S. Days, the center’s president. “What we know is that those campaigns are not very effective.”


Victim-based messaging was most influential decades ago, she said, when many of those suffering abuse didn’t know that domestic violence is a crime.


Today, experts think one way to spur more progress and reduce tolerance of family violence is to engage the bystanders. Their numbers are likely much greater: According to, an estimated 60 percent of Americans know someone who has been a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault.


“They also believe, ’It’s none of my business,’?” Days said. “What we’re trying to help people understand is that it’s everyone’s business. And you can make a difference.”


Days said the campaign and its confidential resource line are not meant to take the place of 911, child-abuse reporting or 24-hour crisis lines for victims. The resource line is to be available from noon to 8 p.m. on weekdays, with a staff member “answering the line, doing chats, answering any text messages we receive.”


If a caller is in immediate danger, the staff member will stay on the line while transferring to 911, Days said. Also, callers who suspect abuse or neglect of a child will be transferred to Franklin County Children Services’ confidential hotline.


The campaign intends to help bystanders sort out difficult situations, such as when parental discipline becomes child abuse or when love turns to dangerous obsession.


New Campaign Encourages Bystanders to Report Domestic Violence

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