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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 11, 2008

Governor Blagojevich continues efforts to stop domestic violence and help victims
Announces downstate billboards promoting the Illinois Statewide Domestic Violence Help Line

SPRINGFIELD -- Stepping up efforts to fight domestic violence, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced new steps to increase awareness and access to services.  Gov. Blagojevich said the Illinois Statewide Domestic Violence Help Line number, 1-877 TO END DV, will be advertised on several billboards across central and southern parts of the state beginning this month.
 
“No one should have to suffer from the peril of domestic violence,” said Gov. Blagojevich.  “We want victims to know that help is a phone call away and these billboards will be an important visual reminder that the Statewide Domestic Violence Help Line provides immediate access to services for domestic violence victims and their families.”  
 
The billboard ads will be placed in Peoria, Springfield and Carbondale.  There will be a total of six billboards located throughout the Peoria area beginning in mid-April that will be on display for eight weeks.  A total of four billboards are to be posted in the Carbondale area beginning in mid-May running through July.  In the Springfield area, the billboards will run the entire month of June in 14 locations.  
 
On July 1, 2007, the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) and the City of Chicago Mayor's Office on Domestic Violence formed a partnership to expand the city’s Domestic Violence Help Line to include coverage across the entire State of Illinois.  The Statewide Domestic Violence Help Line, 1-877-TO-END-DV (1-877-863-6338), offers a toll-free, 24-hour, 7- days–a-week, multi-lingual service that functions as a direct linkage to services for domestic violence victims.
 
Residents who are victims of domestic violence or residents who are concerned for possible victims or are seeking more information about domestic violence, should call the State of Illinois toll-free, 24-hour Domestic Violence Help Line at 1-877-TO-END-DV or TTY 1-877-863-6339.
 
“In addition to directly providing support to Illinois residents, the Help Line also benefits other governmental and non-profit agencies and providers,” said IDHS Secretary Carol L. Adams, Ph.D.  “With the new statewide help line, all non-profit social services agencies, law enforcement, and religious and government institutions may use one single toll-free, 24-hour number to provide an easy linkage to domestic violence services.”
 
Help Line callers are connected to Help Line staff known as Victim Information and Referral Advocates.  These trained advocates directly refer and link survivors to domestic violence services in their communities including shelter, counseling, legal services, and partner abuse intervention programs.  Advocates may additionally identify non-traditional domestic violence services, provide safety planning or tips, and help survivors explore service options.  Family and friends of people experiencing domestic violence, and first responders such as the police, may also utilize the Help Line to identify where and what types of services are available. 
 
Prior to the statewide expansion, Illinois domestic violence service providers utilized individual hotlines.  The Illinois Statewide Domestic Violence Help Line now provides a single, easily remembered telephone number, 1-877-TO-END-DV, that increases access to services for many victim populations, such as victims living in small Illinois towns who are reluctant to contact their hometown provider and immigrant victims who do not speak English.  It is a challenge for some domestic violence service providers to provide multi-lingual services.  By utilizing the Statewide Helpline, providers can link victims to interpretation services for more than 147 languages.  Additionally, the Statewide Help Line also increases access to domestic violence services for the deaf and hard of hearing by providing the most up to date technology.    
 
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