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Mayor's Office on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault

Annually, the Human Services Department (HSD) invests in more than $5.2 million in services and programs to address domestic violence and sexual assault prevention, intervention, coordinated response and offenders' accountability programs.

Multi-Language DV Awareness Campaign

Mayors Office on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault joined Clear Channel Outdoor to unveil a campaign in five languagesEnglish, Spanish, Amharic, Vietnamese and Somalito combat domestic violence in Seattle. Other partners include the Multi-lingual Access Project. With the goal of preventing domestic violence and promoting culturally appropriate resources to better support survivors and their family, through December 1, 2015, messages about domestic violence will be on billboards throughout Seattle.

Call 1-888-847-7205 to get help, toll-free, 24 hours-a-day, every day of the year. The hotline is available in English and Spanish, and in more than 15 languages through the use of interpreters.

English Billboard
Spanish Billboard
Amharic Billboard
Vietnamese Billboard
Somali Billboard

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. View Mayor Ed Murrays proclamation here.

Every year, approximately 1.3 million women and 835,000 men are physically assaulted by an intimate partner in the United States. Many of these cases are never reported to the police. In Washington State 19% of women and 9% of men reported experiencing domestic violence during their lifetime.

Although domestic violence affects people of all backgrounds, Hispanic/Latina, African American, American Indian and Alaska Natives, and Asian and Pacific Islander women are at 2.5 to 3.5 times greater risk for domestic violence homicides than white, non-Hispanic women. Additionally, women living in low-income households are at heightened risk of domestic violence. Further research which followed women over time suggests that poverty increases the risk for domestic violence, and domestic violence increases the risk for poverty.

The City of Seattle continues to lead, partner and support efforts to end domestic violence, sexual assault and commercial sexual exploitation. This involves collaborating with numerous private and public agencies to provide many services and programs, convening elected leaders and community partners to work together, and seeking public and private funding to enhance programs and services for Seattle residents. We also help victims and survivors create safe and violence-free lives, and heal from the trauma of abuse or sexual assault.

Annually, the Human Services Department (HSD) invests in more than $4.9 million in services and programs to address domestic violence and sexual assault prevention, intervention, coordinated response and offenders' accountability programs. Programs focusing on specialized populations include Multilingual Access Project ( and Peace in the Home Helpline (a 24/7 victim advocacy phone line which allows limited English survivors to connect with an advocate in 14 languages).

Much of our work takes place in the Domestic Violence Prevention Council, which develops, implements and coordinates citywide efforts to reduce and prevent domestic violence. Human Services Department staff oversee the workings of the council and coordinate the efforts of its member agencies.

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Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is one of the fastest growing criminal industries in the world, with children as at least half of the victims. Human trafficking is the use of force, fraud or coercion to compel a person into any form of labor against their will. Human trafficking can occur in any industry, including agriculture, construction, domestic service (housekeeper, nanny), restaurants, salons, commercial sex work, massage parlors, and small businesses.

Fact About Youth Sex Trafficking:

  • Child sex trafficking has become a $42 billion a year industry
  • 293,000 American children are at risk of becoming victims of sexual exploitation
  • An estimated 500 teens are working as sex slaves in the Seattle/King County area.
  • Over 85% of victims report a history of sexual abuse as a child and parental and/or caregiver neglect.
  • 1 out 3 teens on the streets will be lured into prostitution within 48 hours of leaving home.
  • The average age of entry into prostitution is 13-14 years old, and some are as young as 11.
  • Without intervention 77% of child prostitution victims will continue to engage in prostitution as an adult.

Victims of human trafficking can include:

  • Children who are lured or forced into commercial sex trade/prostitution
  • Adult sex trafficking
  • Forced labor
  • Involuntary domestic servitude
  • Forced child labor
  • Debt bondage among migrant workers

Victims are lured away from family and friends by the promise of a better life. They are forced to perform both legal and illegal work ranging from prostitution to exotic dancing, street peddling to housekeeping, child care to construction and landscaping. Some victims are forced to work in restaurants, nail salons and factories. They are drawn into servile marriages or criminal activities.
Victims are controlled physically, emotionally and financially. Escape is difficult because victims of human trafficking are often invisible. Some don't speak English. They are afraid to approach authorities because they fear threats of harm against their families or deportation if they are not US citizens. They may have no idea where they are or how to get help. They are ashamed.

Signs of human trafficking

Victims are often kept out of sight and are afraid to reach out for help. According to the Polaris Project of the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, the following may be signs that someone is a victim of trafficking:

  • Workers who have had their ID, passport, or documents taken away
  • Workers who show signs of physical and/or sexual abuse, physical restraint, confinement, or torture
  • Workers who show signs of emotional abuse
  • Workers who are being threatened by or are in debt to their boss
  • Workers who are under 18 and are involved in the commercial sex industry
  • Workers who are not free to leave or come and go from their place of work as they wish
  • Workers who don't seem to be receiving payment

Are you being forced to work against your will?

Help is available in our community. To get help, contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline at 1-888-3737-888. Operators are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Interpreters are available for up to 170 different languages for those callers that require interpretive services. They will connect you to local assistance. There are many local organizations to provide support that is safe, confidential and free.
Call if you:

  • Cannot leave your job or situation if you want to
  • Cannot come and go as you please
  • Have been threatened if you try to leave
  • Have been physically harmed in any way
  • Have you ever been deprived of food, water, sleep, or medical care
  • Have to ask permission to eat, sleep, or go to the bathroom
  • Have re locks on your doors and windows so you cannot get out
  • Have had your family threatened
  • Have had identification or documentation taken away
  • Are being forced to do anything that you do not want to do

Dont Buy Our Kids Campaign

In April 2014, the Mayor's Office on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault joined Clear Channel Outdoor to unveil a campaign to combat child sex trafficking in Seattle and King County.


Seattle Family Justice Center Feasibility Analysis

The City of Seattle and the Seattle Police Foundation are pleased to provide the final report from the Seattle Family Justice Center Feasibility Analysis. Based on the positive feedback and recommendations included in the report, City leadership will be proceeding to the next stage of development for a co-located domestic violence response center based on the Family Justice Center model. The next steps will be to engage in a strategic planning process and to begin fund development. The strategic planning process will ensure that the ultimate design of the project will meet the unique needs of our community.

Biennial Report on Domestic Violence in Seattle

Toward Safety and Justice: Domestic Violence in Seattle is a biennial report that aims to raise public awareness of all aspects of domestic violence what it is, who and how many people it affects, and how the community responds to domestic violence. The report include national and local criminal justice and service data that helps explain the scope of the problem in our region. Also, it includes the Citys efforts to address these problems and gaps in services.

Promising Practices in Sexual Violence Prevention and Community Mobilization for Prevention: A Report to the City of Seattle

This report was commissioned by the Seattle Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention Division within the City of Seattle Human Services Department. The report is an overview of the current state of the literature related to effective and promising approaches to sexual violence prevention. Additionally, current knowledge regarding best practices and critical elements of community mobilizing as a prevention strategy are reviewed. The goal of the report is to assist the City and its community partners in identifying sexual violence prevention-related activities that are likely to carry the greatest impact given limited resources.

Youth Involvement in Prostitution in Seattle

"Who Pays the Price? Youth Involvement in Prostitution in Seattle", completed by Dr. Debra Boyer, was commissioned to guide funding and policy decisions, and to help facilitate a more coordinated response to the problem.

Through The Lens of Domestic Violence: A look at Housing and Homelessness

Strategic Plan

The 2013-2015 Domestic Violence Strategic Plan: Seattles Criminal Justice Response, adopted by the Domestic Violence Prevention Council in January 2013, builds upon the ongoing efforts of the City of Seattle to achieve a bold vision that Seattle will become a community where there is no domestic violence. The response to domestic violence within our community includes a broad spectrum of intervention and prevention initiatives carried out by numerous agencies, all of which are designed to address the comprehensive needs of a domestic violence survivor.

Seattle Human Services Department
Street address: 700 5th Avenue, Suite 5800, Seattle, WA 98104
Mailing address: PO Box 34215, Seattle, WA 98124-4215

Phone: 206-386-1001
Fax: 206-233-5119
TTY/TTD: 206-233-2778

Accommodations for people with disabilities provided upon request.