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Victims of crime in the District can call, text, or email a new 24-hour hotline through which specialists will attempt to help them find aid for a host of issues, from stalking and domestic violence to theft and robbery.
The D.C. Victim Hotline promises to provide “confidential resources” and is being funded by the Mayor’s Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants and the National Center for Victims of Crime. Mayor Muriel Bowser is expected to officially launch the program this morning, though—according to the Post and AP—the service has already helped more than 100 victims in the past several months. The hotline is free to use.
“The D.C. Victim Hotline gives crime victims anonymous, compassionate, multi-lingual support and access to the resources they need to address the physical, emotional, and financial consequences of all crimes,” a release explains. It adds that D.C. saw more than 6,300 violent crimes and 30,000 property crimes in 2015, per Metropolitan Police Department data; this year, those figures are over 1,300 and 6,000, in turn.
The service’s website states that specialists will “maintain as much confidentiality as is allowable by law”:
- “we will not record or store any identifying information about our contact with you
- you do not have to share any personal details with us unless you want to
- Anything you share will remain confidential, unless you disclose abuse or neglect of a child, elder or vulnerable adult, or the intent to harm yourself or others.”
Officials caution that in situations of “immediate danger,” people should call 911. But “this number is so the victims don’t have to go through” the hoops of finding the right government office or filling out the correct form alone, Michelle Garcia, director of D.C.’s Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants, told the Post.
This hotline launches during National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. The number is 844-4-HELP-DC (844-443-5732).
Photo by Darrow Montgomery