Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $2,000,000)
The use of technology-facilitated victim services is increasing across the US. Crisis hotlines nationally are experiencing increasing wait times, Highlighting the need for a targeted infusion of support to strengthen the foundation of crisis hotlines.
The National Center for Victims of Crime founded the VictimConnect Hotline in 2015. Through calls, texts, and chats, VictimConnect provides its services to all victims of any crime type, regardless of where they are at in their healing. This is provided through emotional support, information, resources, and referrals to crime victims and survivors. VictimConnect employs well-trained Victim Assistance Specialists and volunteers that empower victims and survivors. Based on a caller’s needs, the hotline staff provide resources and referrals to shelter, housing, counseling, culturally and linguistically appropriate programs, legal services, and other specialized services.
Due to increased call, text, and chat volumes, NCVC has identified a need for increasing hotline capacity and accessibility to better support crime victims and survivors nationwide. Through financial support of OVC, NCVC will build upon its current VictimConnect Hotline by expanding hours of availability and access to services.
NCVC will accomplish the following goals:
Goal One: Expand the capacity and infrastructure of the VictimConnect Hotline to provide crisis intervention support using trauma-informed, culturally, and linguistically appropriate, survivor-centered approaches that protect the safety and confidentiality of victims and survivors. To do so, NCVC will focus on expanding to a 24/7 response, maintaining minimal wait times, reducing staff burnout, increasing staff to handle increased call volume, and enhancing accessibility to support expanded chat and text capabilities that are culturally and linguistically appropriate.
Goal Two: To increase capacity to serve the needs of victims and survivors through engaged and collaborative information sharing. As the lead facilitator of the National Hotline Consortium since 2015, NCVC will continue to lead the efforts of the Consortium in identifying opportunities for expansion. Additionally, NCVC will engage in a collaborative needs assessment of victims experiencing cyber- and technology- crimes by facilitating in-person and virtual listening sessions. These collaborative efforts will inform annual public-facing reports that will be produced annually.
NCVC has well-established authentic partnerships with organizations who work closely with underserved populations and marginalized communities. NCVC will work closely with these partners to serve as a resource to the project. NCVC seeks consideration under Priority area 1(A).
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