Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2018, $1,248,000)
The Office for Victims of Crime is committed to enhancing the nations capacity to assist crime victims and provide leadership in changing attitudes, policies, and practices to promote justice and healing for all victims of crime. Through the 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 the use of technology initiatives on a national or nationally replicable scale to improve response, services, and access for victims of crime. OVC will support projects across a variety of technology platforms that could include, but are not limited to: 1) the development of new national app(s) or creation of another technology platform designed to serve victims of crime, including updating and maintenance for the length of the award; 2) the development of regionally focused app(s) or creation of another technology platform designed to serve victims of crime; or 3) the expansion or enhancement of existing services and/or hotlines on digital, online, or text platforms or an app that uses technology to provide services, referrals, tools, and information to victims of crime.
With this award, Safe Horizon will partner with the Center for Court Innovation and its Make it Happen program that works with young men of color between age 1624 who have experienced violence to develop and implement a nationally replicable online chat service SafeChat to augment their telephonic Helpline, a key component of Safe Horizons borough-based Community Programs which offers a holistic continuum of victim services at more than 100 program locations throughout the five boroughs. Services will be available to all victims of crime but will be heavily marketed to young men, especially young men of color, who represent a large portion of crime survivors but traditionally have not reached out to the program for crime victim services. SafeChat will be designed with future scaling and replication in mind with input from survivors in order to shape an effective digital tool, particularly for this young adult demographic and Deaf and hard-of-hearing survivors which rely on digital communication and the majority of which have access to a smartphone. Safe Horizon has done considerable feasibility work with other organizations at local and national levels providing digital services which has informed the design and staffing models for this project.