Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2017, $1,400,000)
Through the OVC FY 2017 Vision 21: Advancing the Use of Technology to Assist Victims of Crime solicitation OVC seeks to support organizations which demonstrate innovative strategies to create, expand, or enhance use of technology initiatives on a national scale to improve response, services, and access for victims of crime. OVC seeks to address three areas, which may intersect depending on the applicants proposed activities and project strategy. These are: 1) Coalition building; 2) Development of new national apps or creation of other technology platforms designed to serve victims of crime, including updates and maintenance for the length of the award; and 3) Expanding or enhancing (including updates and maintenance) existing service and hotline digital, online, text platforms and apps that use technology to provide services, referrals, tools, and information to victims of crime.
End Violence Against Women International (EVAWI) will partner with technology firm Ten8Tech to expand and enhance the use of a service with a public-facing component called Seek Then Speak and an agency-facing component called Victim Link which provides a platform to gather sexual assault survivors and their support people to interact directly to access information and connect directly with local resources. If a victim wishes, they can use the service to begin the process of reporting a crime and to request community services for long-term help. The interactive dialogue is available in 30 different languages. Grant funding will be used to improve the information content and functioning of the service, in development since 2016, and expand it nationwide. The Public Facing Seek Then Speak component is free of charge. Victim Link, the agency facing component of the system, is a subscription-based service, which would be provided free each year of the grant to 100 victim advocacy agencies and 100 law enforcement agencies, with priority given to agencies that can demonstrate multidisciplinary collaboration and/or extensive geographic coverage. Deliverables will also include training and technical assistance materials, webinars, conference presentations, and online content. EVAWI will hold 23 90-minute focus groups with 510 participants each during the project to solicit feedback from survivors and their support persons on the app, with an emphasis on reaching survivors from underserved populations.