At this point, I will take the time to try and persuade you to vote for the charity of my choice. Why should you vote for this one over all of the other deserving charities? Well, besides the fact that it could actually help me out, personally (ahem), The American Domestic Violence Crisis Line is the only crisis line of its type in the world. It is the only service available to US women, men, and children, living in foreign countries who are trying to escape domestic violence and child abuse. US crisis lines, including the National Domestic Violence Crisis Line, can only help those currently living in the US. And DV agencies in other countries (if they exist at all) can only help in very limited ways (if at all), and probably have no way of helping these women (and men) relocate back to the US (and the financial assistance is only one aspect -- the legal issues are even more complex). The US Embassies may be of some help, but that will partially depend on the particular workers that are currently working in that location and how much they know or care about domestic violence.
From the essay posted on ReZoom:
The American Domestic Violence Crisis Line, (ADVCL), 866-USWOMEN, operates the only international toll free domestic violence hotline serving abused American women and children living in foreign countries. The line is currently toll free from 175 countries. Our target population is the estimated 6 - 7 million American civilians and military living in foreign countries. Officially 4.2 million civilians are registered with American Embassies along with ½ million military personnel and their families. To give a perspective of the size of the civilian population we serve, if the number of Americans registered with embassies were placed in one state, it would be the 25th most populous state in the nation. Although no statistics exist for abuse in this population, applying abuse statistics in the USA to our target population, an estimated 57,000 women and 45,000 children are abused annually.And here's something else to consider, something that separates the needs of this charity from just about every other charity on this list. This valuable and much needed service takes significant amounts of funding (the phone bills alone can cost thousands of dollars every month). At this point in time, due to the inability to provide a concrete "population" (many of the numbers are estimates -- and the exact percentages of DV may vary from county to country), we are unable to gain access to government grants and funds. All of our funding comes from private grants and donations.
ADVCL began crisis line operations in April 2001 just two years after Paula Lucas, Founder and Executive Director, finally escaped a foreign country with her three children to flee 12 years of domestic violence and child abuse. Frustrated at the absence of services for her and her children while overseas, and shocked at the legal obstacles she encountered upon her return home to be able to keep her American children in their own country, Paula was determined that other American women & children would not need to suffer the same fate. Paula first founded the non-profit organization as an online resource for abused Americans living in foreign countries in September 1999. At that time, she and her children were still homeless themselves, living in a domestic violence shelter.
Since 2001, the organization’s crisis line advocates have served an estimated 1,000 families on the crisis line providing crisis intervention, domestic violence advocacy, case management, safety planning, information & referral. Also since 2001 the organization has provided danger to safety trans-national relocation to 26 families back to the USA, paid 13 legal retainers to enable battered mothers to file for custody of their children in the USA, provided professional counseling to 19 abuse survivors and placed 3 families into a one-year transitional housing program.
In 2006 alone, crisis advocates received 1158 crisis calls and emails, providing services to 248 families in 47 countries. Collectively volunteer advocates volunteered 3,849 hours on the crisis line in 2006. The crisis line currently operates continuously from 9am Monday PST through Friday 11pm PST.
If you already have a local charity that you believe is truly deserving of this award, by all means, vote for them. But, please consider voting instead for the ADVCL. Or, perhaps you could switch back and forth each day (again, you can vote once a day, everyday, until March 31).