This evaluation project examined the formation and implementation of chat and text services on SAFEline, the 24/7 hotline service at SAFE Alliance in Austin, Texas.
Both quantitative and qualitative methodologies were used to assess 1) how technology-based advocacy is being implemented at SAFEline and used by SAFE Alliance to provide support to service users; 2) how advocacy models to support crime victims are being adapted for different technological platforms; 3) who uses technology-facilitated advocacy, their needs, and experiences in seeking services; and 4) what agency and community supports and resources are needed to implement technology-based advocacy and conduct subsequent process and outcome evaluations. Using a collaborative model, the evaluation team partnered with SAFE Alliance staff to understand program use, reach, and programmatic theory of change. The evaluation found that Outcomes are short-term and long-term and include increased safety, reduced isolation, and increased resource knowledge. Barriers to successful chat and text hotline interactions include lack of comfort or access to the platform, perception that the service lacks warmth, and inaccessibility to needed services at the agency due to high demand for interpersonal violence services in the community. Chat and text hotlines are vital to service availability and access for victims of IPV, child abuse and neglect (CAN), sexual assault, and human trafficking, and extend the benefits of national chat, text, and phone hotlines. Chat, text, and phone hotlines provide an important role in community education by linking people to local supports for education and teach people how to access help. Technology-based advocacy can increase access to historically marginalized and hard-to-reach populations. Chat and text service user volume is sensitive to local, state, and national events. 17 tables and 1 figure