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Providing a Citywide System of Single Point Access to Domestic Violence Information, Resources, and Referrals to a Diverse Population: An Evaluation of the City of Chicago Domestic Violence Help Line

NCJ Number
Date Published
182 pages

This evaluation of Chicago's Domestic Violence Help Line assessed its effectiveness in serving domestic violence victims from diverse populations and documented the differing needs of diverse users and their experiences with the Help Line's services.


A sample of domestic violence victims who had previously called the Help Line gave overwhelmingly positive assessments of its usefulness, as did surveyed police officers and the staff of domestic violence services. The interaction of the user with the Victim Information and Referral Advocate (VIRA) was primary in the user's assessment of the services received. The evaluation concludes that providing a centralized clearinghouse with one citywide number is an effective method for linking domestic violence victims with appropriate services. Victims mentioned the personal attention, support, and comfort provided by the VIRA as well as guidance in developing a strategy for dealing with their abusive circumstances. The types of services requested by Black, White, and Latino victims differed. Black victims most often sought shelter service, and Latino victims sought information on an order of protection or other general domestic violence information. Most reported obtaining the information or service they requested and found it to be useful. Features essential for success are the public-private partnership, the VIRA's interactive role, relationships with the police department and domestic violence service providers, the accessibility of translation/interpretation, and community outreach. Telephone interviews were conducted with 399 victims who had used the Help Line. Telephone interviews were also conducted with 74 staff at domestic violence service provider agencies. A survey was also completed by 1,202 police officers. In order to assess public awareness of the Help Line, 357 community residents were surveyed. 15 exhibits, 55 references, 17 notes, and 14 appendixes that include evaluation instruments

Date Published: January 1, 2006