New initiative from The Center for Family Safety and Healing to combat family violence supplies bystanders with resources to help
What should you do if you witness or suspect family violence? The Center for Family Safety and Healing wants to answer that question. The Central Ohio organization's "Where's the Line?" initiative-which includes billboards, TV commercials, print advertisements, pizza box fliers and even coffee cup sleeves-is meant to help you help others.
Karen Days, president of The Center for Family Safety and Healing, shares why "Where's the Line?" is crucial:
At the heart of this campaign is a phone number people can call, text or instant message to get advice on how to handle family violence. How should people use the line?
It's a resource line, which is very different than a hotline. A hotline is 24 hours. We're 12 noon to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday. When they call or send a chat through the computer or instant messages, it just depends on what that person needs. A person may call and say, "I have somebody in my life that I believe is a victim of domestic violence, but I don't even know how to begin to start the conversation with them. How do I do that?" We walk them through things they can say. We provide them basically with scripts that they can use. If someone is saying "I'm in immediate danger right now," we keep them on the line and transfer them to 911. The other thing is, we don't want people to get the impression that this supersedes 911 or any crisis call to Franklin County Children Services. We're a resource to those with non-threatening situations that people have witnessed or are witnessing.
"Where's the Line?" is focused on bystanders. Why are they so important?
Without a bystander, a person may never get to safety. One of the things we don't want to do is seem as if we're taking the control away from the victim. We want to be there as their helper if they need us. But if we see something, we want to hold that perpetrator accountable. It's about not only assisting that victim, but also showing the perpetrator this is not going to be tolerated. When it's someone they don't know or someone that they know that they would have never expected, it's profound. We're not asking people to be social workers. We're asking people to just be empowered enough to know what to do at that basic level.
Local businesses like Donatos and Verizon are supporting the campaign. How are they helping?
Verizon was gracious enough to provide us with monetary support. And Donatos-I've not met many people like Jane [Grote Abell, chairman of the board]. Her willingness to place our information as a poster on top of their pizza boxes, it's incredible. And she did it without even hesitating. She just said, "Tell us what you need," and put us into contact with individuals. We will have the ability through Donatos to reach more than 50,000 people and households. That's phenomenal. You can't put a price tag on that.
How will you measure the campaign's effectiveness?
We're going to be measuring how many calls, how many instant messages, how many text messages we're getting. Measuring those things shows a bit of success. Is the word getting out there? We'll also ask every caller-but it's up to them because it's always confidential and always anonymous-if they are willing, at the least, to give us their zip code. Then we can kind of see where people are calling from and see if there's adequate services within that community.
You've long wished to launch a campaign like this. What does "Where's the Line?" mean to not only Columbus, but also to you?
I just think to myself, we're going to do it. This is happening. We're going to make a difference in the lives of victims in a different way. And we're going to take that fear away from them that they're on their own. And they're not on their own. We have a host of people in our community that we're trying to reach and train them to surround that victim with love and show their concern by taking the action themselves.