The Violence Prevention Hotline proposes to provide free, confidential, expert support for people in distress and feeling compelled toward committing acts of violence in the future. Below is our statement of action to make this hotline a reality.
Statement Of Action:
The USA has hotlines aimed at preventing suicides and helping the victims of domestic violence, but none to prevent people from committing violent acts. Violence impacts millions of people each year. Yet, a great deal of violence is preventable. As far back as 1958 local crisis lines were established to help people who were struggling with suicidal thoughts. It took until 2004 for our nation to establish The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline which provided 24/7 support for people in crisis. Just imagine, a nationwide service that mimics the national suicide hotline, but can help prevent acts of shooting, rage, interpersonal violence, and even mass shootings, by offering anonymous support to the prospective perpetrator. Recently there has been a surge of outcry about pervasive public and private violence in our society. Yet, there are still not enough preventative services or resources targeted toward those who are escalated and feel compelled to act on violent impulses.
The Violence Prevention Hotline (NVPH) proposes to operate 24/7 in order to provide free, confidential, expert support for people in distress who feel compelled toward committing acts of violence in the future. NVPH will aim to reach people who are contemplating violent acts, work on de-escalation, connect people to professional help, or get emergency personnel involved.
Researchers like Drs. Vincent Felitti, Robert Anda, Nadine Burke-Harris, and Bruce Perry and their organizations in health care and human development have been writing and speaking for thirty years that there are relationships between adverse experiences such as domestic violence, addiction, divorce, abuse, neglect, a family member being incarcerated and how a person develops and functions. Furthermore, Dr. Perry has collaborated with others, including Oprah Winfrey, to popularize these concepts and include Social Determinants Of Health (SDOH) such as lack of access to care, healthcare disparities, discrimination, lack of access to food, opportunities in education and vocation, adequate housing, which may go back for generations (also known as multigenerational trauma).
We firmly propose that a paradigm based on “what’s wrong with you?” perpetuates and aggravates the marginalization, dehumanization, exclusion, lack of equity, stigma of being diverse and other forms of suffering, instead of contributing to a solution to these issues. A paradigm shift to “what happened to you” (like the title of Dr. Perry and Oprah’s book) opens a channel to compassion, vulnerability, connection which could effectively inform changes in policy, intervention, and prevention. With the NVPH we are opening up, for the first time, a dialogue to people who may be in temporary or continuous mental distress and believe that the only “answer” or “solution” to their problem is by exercising violence.
Having access to preventative services has been shown to be effective in the past. The NVPH would help people struggling with compulsions toward committing acts of violence who are afraid to tell their friends, family, therapist, doctor, or local police department. This hotline aims to provide support to the person calling or using the online chat, regardless of their situation, place of residence, personal background, or socio-economics.This type of preventative-intervention is especially pivotal during the “contemplation phase” when someone may begin to become fixated on violent acts. By intervening during the “contemplation phase”, we believe the amount of people entering into the “action phase” in the cycle of violence will decrease, which automatically will shield our society from further unnecessary violence and as a whole.
Like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the National Violence Prevention Hotline seeks to staff professional counselors to take calls, text message, and provide resources. NVPH will build their headquarters in a community who invests in our vision. With our initiative, we look to also support the growth of this community by opening the first call center and bringing many high-quality jobs for the people living in this community.
Just as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline does not prevent all suicides; the NVPH will not prevent all violent acts from occurring. However, it can offer the first lifeline of support for those who are in distress or prone to perpetuate violence more broadly. NVPH creates an opportunity to de-escalate, redirect and prevent a potentially violent-harming-others type of situation covering the current gap to address violence within our society. Addressing these types of situations from a preventative view, will bring us the opportunity to open up a cultural discussion about violence, its precursors, multigenerational trauma and many other topics affecting our society from a root-cause-analysis and possible solutions perspective. Furthermore, it will increase the opportunities to collaborate with grassroots and community services organizations also looking to prevent violence in local communities through education and mental health awareness and resources.
-Paul Krauss MA LPC and the NVPH Board
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We’re working on securing grants to fund many of efforts we will need to make this mission a reality, but those only go so far. Every donation helps our goal of preventing violence
Funding is needed to: