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Text to 911, using a coded call can help in reporting domestic violence

Posted at 9:35 PM, Nov 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-26 23:16:49-05

CLEVELAND — Leaders with Cuyahoga County's Domestic Violence and Child Advocacy Center said it's important to have a safety plan and many alternatives when reporting and escaping domestic violence.

Agency CEO Melissa Graves applauded the quick thinking of a 38-year-old Toledo area woman, who contacted Oregon, Ohio 911 dispatcher Tim Teneyck earlier this month, and acted like she was ordering a pizza while her mother's alleged attacker was in the house.

“That young woman was really thinking on her feet, and she possibly saved the life of both herself and her mom,” Graves said.

"The dispatcher did a great job, and I think it really shows the importance of great training.”

Graves said texting 911 is another excellent option, when someone can't talk on the phone or if a person is hiding from an attacker.

Graves said both Cuyahoga County and Cleveland are text to 911 capable, and said it's important text messages to 911 be kept succinct.

"Keep the text message short and brief and to the point," Graves said.

"Text something like, I need help, I’m in danger, address, and your location.”

“So it’s important to have numerous options available, and having texting available as an option, is really important.”

You will get a bounce back text if the service isn't available in your location.

Text to 911 is also available in Geauga County, but the FCC reports the service is expanding and posts a monthly list of new locations.

If someone is not in imminent domestic violence danger, Graves said those who need help can call or text the agency helpline at 216-391-HELP (4357).

Graves said people can also go the agency website and engage in a live web chat.