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New Texting Line Offers Help To Abused Teens

Dane County Nonprofit, Hospital System Collaborate On Service

Mariah Dietzler (CC-BY-NC-ND)

A Dane County group that works against domestic abuse is teaming up with a hospital system on a texting help line that will reach out to abused teenagers.

Shannon Barry is executive director of Domestic Abuse Intervention Services, or DAIS. She said 1 in 3 teens has experienced dating violence, but few reach out for help.

“DAIS believes that having a texting help line will allow teens to reach out in a way that is more comfortable and safe for them,” she said.

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Dr. Stew Watson is president of Dean Clinic, which is sponsoring the texting help line along with St. Mary’s.

“The hope is that all teenagers in this community know and understand that this is a free and confidential resource available to them when they need it,” said Watson.

Watson said domestic violence is not something that is easy for adults to talk about and it can be even harder for teenagers.

The help line — reachable by texting HOPE to 20121 — is aimed at teens, but groups behind the service say it will serve people of any age who use it.