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February 23, 2023 | Webinar

Helplines for Abusive Partners? Why? (Or Why Not?)


Sala Fuchs, Michelle Harris, Lori Jump, Crystal L. Justice, Gustavo Lopez, David Mathews, Lisa Nitsch, & JAC Patrissi


Juan Carlos Areán

Date Recorded:

February 23,2023


The parallel pandemics of COVID-19 and Intimate Partner Violence have shattered some firmly held paradigms in the U.S. One is that people who cause harm will not seek help without a coercive mandate. This idea has been debunked through the use of telephone helplines in other countries. For instance, a New York Times article profiled the Respect Phoneline, a service for abusive partners in the U.K., which receives “around 6,000 calls, texts and web chats a year.” At the beginning of the pandemic, “phone calls went up by 200%; webchats went up by 400% and website traffic by 500%.” Countries including Sweden, Colombia, and Australia have recognized the need for helplines and financially supported them. A recent article in Ms. Magazine featuring a hotline in Israel ends with a piece of advice from the organizers: “the U.S. should create a men’s hotline. It makes men step up.”

This 90-minute roundtable will consider the pros and cons of establishing helplines for abusive partners in the U.S.; feature practitioners involved in the implementation and planning of state and national helplines; and include advocates’ perspectives on safety, accountability, and equity.

Learning Objectives:

By the end of the session, participants will be better able to:

  • Explain the rationale for developing regional and national helplines for people who use violence

  • Discuss possible pitfalls and necessary safeguards for survivors when creating helplines

  • Articulate equity considerations when operating helplines


Juan Carlos Areán, Ph.D.

Program Director, Children & Youth Program at Futures Without Violence

Dr. Areán is an internationally recognized activist, public speaker, trainer and facilitator, and published author. He works as a Program Director for Futures Without Violence. Since 1991, he has walked along with men across different cultures in a collective healing journey to become better fathers, intimate partners, and allies to end gendered violence and achieve gender equity. He was previously the Director of the National Latin@ Network at Casa de Esperanza and the first Sexual Assault Prevention Specialist at Harvard University. Dr. Areán is an active trainer, who has led hundreds of workshops and presentations throughout the United States, the Americas, and the Caribbean, as well as in Europe, Asia, the US Congress, and the United Nations in New York and Geneva.


  • Sala Fuchs

    Chief Operations Officer at National Domestic Violence Hotline

    Sala Fuchs leads direct services, workforce management, training and quality assurance for the national 24/7 hotline serving DV survivors — linking them to nearly 5,000 shelters and DV programs across the U.S., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Hotline has answered 6.4 million calls since their founding in 1996. Sala has been with The Hotline for over a decade and has overseen rapid expansion of direct services in response to growing demand. In 2022, The Hotline experienced nearly double the incoming volume compared to before the pandemic. Sala’s 15+ years of experience in strategic planning, supervision and administration has equipped her to lead development and enable expansion while maintaining the highest standards of survivor-centered and trauma informed services. Sala received her Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in Organizational Leadership from Texas A&M Commerce. She resides in Austin, Texas and is the proud mother of four amazing children.

  • Michelle Harris

    Program Manager  at A Call for Change Helpline

    Michelle Harris is an experienced intimate partner violence preventionist with degrees in liberal arts and psychology. She retains a paralegal certification. She has 15 years of experience in domestic violence direct services and leadership roles, having worked in shelter and hotline settings before transitioning into a focus on transformative interventions for people using the tools of abuse in their intimate partnership. Ms. Harris is the Program Manager for A Call for Change Helpline, a first-in-the-nation project of Growing a New Heart. This project is a confidential, anonymous helpline for people who want to stop using abuse and control in their intimate relationships. Michelle leads the project operations, social media communications and Advisory Board and is a key member of the finance, grant writing, Technical Assistance and supervisory teams. She enjoys nurturing relationships and maintains collaborative communications with project partners and state organizations.

  • Lori Jump

    Chief Executive Officer at StrongHearts Native Helpline

    Lori Jump, a citizen of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, is the Chief Executive Officer of the StrongHearts Native Helpline. Her love of family and community is central to the work she chooses as is her belief that we have responsibilities to those who came before us and those who will follow. Her most important roles are those of Mom, Gma, Sister, Daughter, Auntie. Lori brings a wealth of tribal advocacy experience to StrongHearts having worked for 25+ years in her tribal community, working with tribal, state and federal jurisdictions. She continued her work in the field of violence against women as a founding member and former Executive Director of Uniting Three Fires Against Violence, Michigan’s tribal coalition. Lori continues to serve her tribal nation as an Appellate Court Judge for the Sault Ste. Marie Chippewa Tribal Court.

  • Crystal L. Justice

    Chief External Affairs Officer at National Domestic Violence Hotline

    Crystal Justice is the Chief External Affairs Officer for the National Domestic Violence Hotline where she provides communications, policy, and fundraising leadership for the only 24/7 hotline in the nation serving domestic violence survivors via call, chat and text—linking them to nearly 5,000 shelters and domestic violence programs across the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The organization has answered 6.4 million calls since their founding in 1996. Crystal has spent her entire 20-year career serving nonprofit organizations focused on women’s rights, public health, and social justice. Throughout her career she has focused on developing strategies for increased capacity, maximizing programmatic impact, and building sustainability. She is a certified nonprofit executive leader through the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and is a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE).

  • Gustavo Lopez

    Research Director at Alliance for Boys and Men of Color (ABMoC)

    Gustavo Lopez leads the research, evaluation, and data work for the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color (ABMoC). Prior to joining ABMoC, Gustavo led the research agenda for the Southern Border Communities Coalition of Alliance San Diego, focusing on migration and border policies. He guided the development and launch of the Border Lens data portal, which aggregates economic and demographic data on the border region. Gustavo also worked as a research analyst at the Pew Research Center where he focused on demographic and survey research. He holds bachelor’s degrees in economics and political science from Purdue University, and a master’s of public policy degree from UC San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy. He lives in San Diego and enjoys running, adding to his growing collection of plants, and baking.

  • David Mathews

    Therapist at People Incorporated, MN

    Dr. Mathews has 40+ years of experience working with families, adolescents and children related to issues of trauma, parenting, IPV and DV. He is currently a therapist at People Incorporated, MN and has been a therapist in private practice for 30 years. Dr. Mathews created Restorative Parenting Practices in 1999 and provides training for the application and development of Restorative Parenting programs. He provides training/consultation nationally/ internationally on topics of trauma, parenting, violence and violence prevention, professional self-care and multi-cultural proficiency. He has been a Community Faculty for 24 years at Minnesota Universities in Psychology, Social Work and Human Services Departments. Dr. Mathews has lead and participated in local/ national/ international, inter-agency and community initiatives having to do with violence, family violence, gender based violence, community violence, parenting, trauma, and violence prevention.

  • Lisa Nitsch

    Director of Training & Education at House of Ruth Maryland

    Lisa is responsible for House of Ruth Maryland’s intervention services for abusive partners and the Training Institute, which coordinates professional development for staff, external community education, and professional technical assistance. She has been with House of Ruth Maryland since 1998 and has advanced through a variety of positions, including overseeing the agency’s Clinical Services for survivors and their children, the Teen Initiative, and the Developmental Childcare Center. Lisa is Vice-Chair of Baltimore City’s Domestic Violence Coordinating Council, a member of the City’s Domestic Violence High Risk Task Force and the Maryland Governor’s Family Violence Council, a Board member of the Nicole Leister Education Foundation, and a National Battering Intervention Network Steering Committee member.

  • JAC Patrissi

    Co-Founder at A Call for Change

    JAC is the co-founder of A Call for Change for people who use tool of control violence in their intimate partnerships and founder and principal of Growing a New Heart, a social justice consortium of leaders in the healing arts and racial equity. Following graduation from Bryn Mawr College, JAC began a Watson Fellowship to examine the impact of colonial white supremacy and misogyny on women and children, and how their stories impact their relationship to power and spiritual wellbeing, JAC worked with & learned from indigenous peoples & sexually trafficked women and children in forty + countries before returning to the US to join others who work towards transformative peacemaking. JAC led community-based statewide and regional initiatives & federal demonstration projects for the Office for Victims of Crime & the National Crime Victims Center, founding one of the first state Victim Assistance Academies. JAC founded the largest Intimate Partner Abuse Education Program in Western MA.


This webinar is presented in English with American Sign Language interpretation, Spanish interpretation, and closed captions in English. If you require other accommodations, please email us so that we can do our best to meet your need.

*Spanish and American Sign Language interpretations will be made available soon.

  • American Sign Language interpreters: Sara Labella & Sandra Romero-Canas

  • Spanish interpreter: Luis Burset

  • Captioner: Heather Jensen

This webinar is supported by Grant Number 90EV0532-01-00 and 90EV0524-01-00 from the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Family and Youth Services Bureau, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Points of view shared in this webinar are those of the presenters and do not necessarily reflect the official positions or policies of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.