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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