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|Hayley Matthews • 10/04/16|
The 411: With more than 88,000 chats, phone calls and texts coming in every year, loveisrespect is the most reliable and authoritative organization focused on helping teens and young adults identify, prevent and end abusive relationships.
With more than 41 million teens in the U.S, it’s important for them to have a convenient way to get good advice about relationships, and that’s exactly what loveisrespect provides.
Launched in 2007, loveisrespect, a project of the National Domestic Violence Hotline and Break the Cycle, is one of the only institutions to offer 24/7 call, text and chat services that help people aged 13 to 26 understand the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships and improve their situation.
When you throw in the fact that the program is staffed by trained peer advocates ,who teens and young adults can actually relate to, it really doesn’t get any better than loveisrespect.
“No matter who you are or what’s happened or how you’ve come to us or what you’ve searched for or what your age is, loveisrespect wants to help you,” said Brian Pinero, chief programs officer.
Users always come first at loveisrespect, and the dedicated team does that by:
Besides around-the-clock help via chat, phone or text, loveisrespect also has a popular blog that’s filled with posts that are generated by teens’ needs, including tips on how to communicate, negotiate, recognize the signs of abuse and more.
Another great thing about loveisrespect is its advocates, including Mikaela, who’s been with the organization for almost two years and is part of the digital services team.
From giving advice to those who’ve just started dating to listening to those who are concerned about the state of their current relationship, Mikaela and her colleagues work hard to provide support and promote healthy behaviors.
“You have to be ready to meet them where they’re at, assess their needs and feelings, and determine how you can best help them in that moment,” she said. “Abuse is something that no one should ever have to experience, so if I can be a part of someone building the relationship foundation that they need to prevent becoming a survivor or perpetrator of abuse, that is an incredibly satisfying feeling.”
While loveisrespect has already made a positive impact on millions of teens and young adults nationwide, the team hopes to continue improving their services, including adding interactive forums and video chat to the site.
“What would it be like if the person could see us, if we could see them, if they could have that conversation? What would that lead to?” Pinero said. “It’s just continuing to see how people search for our services and look for information.”
They also want to help people who come to them feeling hurt leave feeling empowered and ready to start a happier, healthier life.
“Being in an unhealthy or abusive relationship can make people feel like they’re all alone, like no one understands what they’re going through and there is no way out,” Mikaela said. “It takes so much strength to reach out for help and share upsetting and intimate details of your life, and I always feel so humbled and inspired by that courage.”
If you’re looking for expert advice about healthy relationships, abuse and more, visit loveisrespect.org. You can also visit its partner sites, thehotline.org and breakthecycle.org.