Connecticut’s New Domestic Violence Resource Hub Marks 100 Days

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

This week marks 100 days since Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CCADV) launched Safe Connect, Connecticut’s new domestic violence resource hub. In those first 100 days, Safe Connect was contacted over 3,000 times by more than 1,800 people seeking assistance via this new platform that allows for text, chat and email in addition to traditional hotline phone calls.

“The first 100 days have been truly exciting as our advocates have worked day and night to create meaningful connections to safety for survivors and their children,” said Karen Jarmoc, chief executive officer, CCADV. “Safe Connect is an essential resource that meets the immediate needs of survivors while ensuring a safe connection to their local domestic violence organization (CCADV’s 18 member organizations) for ongoing support and services.”

Data from the first 100 days of the project demonstrates that housing and emergency shelter were the most frequently discussed need, followed by financial assistance and basic needs. Safe Connect advocates discussed emergency shelter as a possible option with 779 survivors, while they ultimately referred 267 clients to shelter provided by CCADV’s 18 organizations. The most frequently provided services included crisis intervention, counseling, information & referral, and safety planning. 

During the first 100 days, the majority of victim/survivor contact was made via phone calls. This is not unexpected as the program is set to launch paid advertising this spring to increase awareness of both the text/chat/email feature, as well as the ability of survivors to chat in more than 200 languages. With 80% of Safe Connect Advocates bilingual in English and Spanish and having cultural backgrounds that span over ten different countries and four continents, Safe Connect provides a strong platform to offer multicultural services to a diverse community of survivors.

Prior to the launch of Safe Connect, Connecticut’s statewide domestic violence hotline was answered locally by each of CCADV’s 18 member organizations, along with their direct local phone numbers to access services. The phase-in of these local hotline numbers was staggered during the first 100 days. It is important to note that because of this phase-in, the total number of contacts to Safe Connect are not representative of the full number of survivors seeking assistance during this time period. As of February 1, 2020, 95% of all domestic violence hotline contacts in Connecticut are coming through Safe Connect.

Said Jarmoc, “The goal of Safe Connect is not only to create a coordinated triage response to domestic violence in Connecticut, but also to allow our member organizations more time to provide ongoing services to survivors. By handling immediate needs on the front end, our member organizations can focus their efforts on providing comprehensive advocacy for survivors that meets their long-term needs.”

“Survivors come to us with increasingly complex issues that require more and more time spent with a domestic violence advocate, something that can often be interrupted by incoming hotline calls,” said Lee Schlesinger, executive director, Safe Haven of Greater Waterbury and board member of CCADV. “It may be needs related to trauma, substance use, or housing, all of which they struggle to have met and that so closely intersect with the abuse that they are experiencing. Having Safe Connect triage immediate needs means that our advocates get to spend more time helping survivors access long-term services that contribute to their overall safety and stability.”

Safe Connect Advocates are also able to coordinate services across multiple member organizations and other key stakeholders. Recently Safe Connect received a crisis call that required one Safe Connect Advocate to communicate with law enforcement and another to communicate with the local CCADV member organization. Law enforcement was able to find the victim who was in hiding and transport that person to a safe location at which the local CCADV member organization met with the victim to provide immediate basic needs including food, toiletries and clothing. Safe Connect then coordinated housing with a separate CCADV member organization that had shelter space available. This coordinated response between Safe Connect, two CCADV member organizations and law enforcement allowed for the triage and smooth transition through a complex process for a victim in crisis.

Safe Connect serves as Connecticut’s domestic violence information hub, providing extensive information, safety planning, counseling, case management, and referrals to one of CCADV’s 18 member organizations that provide ongoing support and services to survivors in their local communities. All services provided through Safe Connect are confidential, safe, free, and voluntary. They are provided to all victims and survivors of domestic violence regardless of age, ability, gender identity, sexual identity, racial or ethnic identity, religion, socioeconomic status, immigration status. Family, friends, professionals or anyone who suspects that someone they know is experiencing domestic violence are also encouraged to access information and resources via Safe Connect.

Safe Connect can be accessed 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year by visiting where survivors can chat or email with an advocates or by texting/calling (888) 774-2900.

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