Domestic Violence Prevention (1994-Present)
In 1994, The Ad Council and The Family Violence Prevention Fund partnered to launch the Domestic Violence Prevention campaign in an effort to reduce domestic violence by making it socially unacceptable. The public service advertisements (PSAs) featured the tagline, “There’s no excuse for domestic violence,” and encouraged people to get involved in prevention efforts. At the time, domestic violence was the leading cause of serious injury to American women. In fact, according to the Family Violence Prevention Fund, a woman was battered – by her husband or boyfriend – every nine seconds.
Within 10 weeks of the campaign launch, 10,000 domestic violence prevention community action kits had been requested. Between 1995 and 1996, 34,000 calls were made to the campaign’s toll-free hotline, and by 1997 the hotline had received 100,000 calls.
A survey conducted by the Ad Council between November of 1994 and February of 1995 in markets airing the PSAs demonstrated their impact: 87% of respondents (up from 80%) felt that outside intervention was required in physical abuse cases, and only 18 percent (down from 29%) felt that intervening by calling the police would not be helpful.
In 1998, the campaign strategy changed slightly to communicate the understanding that domestic violence could only be overcome by speaking out against it and supporting victims of abuse. The new PSAs encouraged people to get involved and to intervene if they knew of someone in an abusive relationship. A radio mini-series consisting of 12 episodic PSAs targeted to the African-American community was released in 1999. In 2001, the PSAs sought to engage men and have them speak to pre-teen and teenage boys about how women should be treated with the understanding that adults can prevent future violence towards women by influencing the attitudes and behaviors of young boys. Men were encouraged to learn about the role they could play in putting an end to domestic violence.
According to the Family Violence Prevention fund, today nearly one-third of American women (31 percent) report being physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend at some point in their lives. The Ad Council’s Domestic Violence campaign continues to raise awareness about domestic violence and to encourage constructive involvement in its prevention and intervention. The Ad Council recently partnered with Teen Action Network for a Dating Violence campaign targeted towards teens. The campaign is expected to launch in early 2004.
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