Accomplishments of the Domestic Violence Hotline, Online Connections, and Text (ADVHOCaT), 2014-2018

Project Overview

The National Domestic Violence Hotline (The Hotline) and loveisrespect (LIR; the help line targeted towards young people) are supported by the Division of Family Violence Prevention and Services within ACF’s Family and Youth Services Bureau. They are critical partners in the intervention, prevention, and resource assistance efforts of the network of family violence, domestic violence, and dating violence service providers. They provide:

  1. crisis intervention and support by helping identify problems, priorities, and possible solutions and options, including making plans for safety and a plan of action;
  2. information about resources on domestic violence and dating violence, children exposed to domestic violence, sexual assault, intervention programs for batterers, and working through the criminal and civil justice systems;
  3. nationwide referrals to domestic violence shelters and programs, social service agencies, programs addressing the needs of children exposed to domestic violence, legal assistance agencies, economic self-sufficiency programs, and other related services; and
  4. direct connections to local domestic violence service providers for those in need of immediate shelter or services.

The Hotline and LIR advocates provide these services via multiple anonymous modes: telephone calls (available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and in 200 languages); online chats; and texts. The Hotline and LIR also maintain websites with information and resources related to family violence, domestic violence, dating violence, and healthy relationships.

The purpose of the Accomplishments of the Domestic Violence Hotline, Online Connections, and Text (ADVHOCaT) project is to describe the activities and outcomes of the Hotline and LIR. The project aims to:

  1. describe the services and resources provided to those who access The Hotline and LIR and identify whether the information and assistance received is helpful and sought after;
  2. document trends and patterns in the mode of service provision (i.e., calls, online chats, texts, and websites); and
  3. consider new or revised ways for The Hotline and LIR to collect information on their activities and performance, in order to regularly update the public on their outcomes.

To accomplish these aims, the research team accessed existing anonymous data collected by The Hotline and LIR in the first phase of the project. This includes information on the services they provide, the needs and requests of those who contact them, and the number of contacts made via telephone calls, texts, online chats or visits to the websites. In addition, the research team collected new anonymous data on the interactions between callers and advocates and on preferences in the mode of contacting The Hotline and LIR. Because all contacts are anonymous, this project maintains the highest standards of confidentiality.

In its second phase, the project is safely following-up after two weeks with individuals who contact The Hotline and LIR to determine short-term outcomes and the level of helpfulness of the services provided.

The Milken Institute School of Public Health at The George Washington University was awarded this contract.

The point of contact is Samantha Illangasekare.

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