Inspired by her role on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Mariska Hargitay founded the Joyful Heart Foundation in 2004 to help survivors heal and reclaim their lives. Over the last 11 years, Joyful Heart has evolved into a national organization that is paving the way for innovative approaches to treating trauma, igniting shifts in the way the public views and responds to sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse, and reforming and advancing policies and legislation on the city, state and federal levels to ensure justice for survivors.

Our mission is to heal, educate and empower survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse, and to shed light into the darkness that surrounds these issues. We deliver our mission through a program portfolio that includes the three integrated areas of Healing, Education and Advocacy. Our Healing programs are designed to provide survivors and those who care for them with improved access to healing techniques and wellness practices that are holistic—addressing the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual effects of their experiences, all in the nurturing environment of community. The goal of Joyful Heart’s Education programs is to change the way society thinks about, talks about and responds to sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse.  Simply put, we seek to turn up the volume on these issues. Our Advocacy programs seek healing and justice for survivors of violence and abuse. We work in partnership with federal, state and local government, nonprofit organizations, law enforcement, advocates and survivors to bring attention, funding and reforms to improve criminal justice responses to sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse. The cornerstone of our Advocacy work is our effort to end the backlog of hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits across the country.

Since our inception, we have raised nearly $20 million and leveraged more than $75 million in in-kind contributions to:

  • serve over 15,000 survivors and healing professionals;
  • connect over 2.7 million visitors on our website and social media to resources and life-saving help;
  • garner more than 3 billion impressions about our issues and work in digital and print media;
  • effect policy changes in jurisdictions from New York to California;
  • launch, the premier online hub for public research, information and news on ending the rape kit backlog in the United States;
  • produce the groundbreaking NO MORE PSA campaign to end domestic violence and sexual assault that has already generated over 3 billion media impressions online, in print and on TV.