This paper describes the rationale, services, and training of the Victim-Connect Resource Center (VictimConnect), which is a nationwide referral help-line that provides resources and information confidentially and anonymously to crime victims and their support networks.
Since its launch in July 2015, VictimConnect’s overarching goal has been to ensure that crime victims of all backgrounds and victimization types have access to secure, high-quality resources that support their recovery. VctimConnect is a referral helpline, in contrast to a crisis hotline. It connects victims and their support networks to local and national resources. VictimConnect trains and sustains an infrastructure of knowledgeable, compassionate, motivated, and trauma-informed staff and volunteers. VictimConnect is continually evaluated for its implementation fidelity and outcomes, making program improvements in response to evaluation findings. VictimConnect helpline advocates are called victim assistance specialists (VASs). VASs are required to complete 80 hours of initial training and coaching and 20 hour of education/professional development per year. The VAS assists visitors by phone and online communications in prioritizing their needs, identifying their options, assessing the pros and cons of their options, considering potential outcomes of their options, and then deciding on a course of action based on the visitor’s decisions. VASs can direct visitors to local service providers for more specific referrals, possibly making a direct connection during the visit. Currently, VictimConnect is serving as a national resource to support victims of COVID-19, along with Black, Indigenous, and People of Color impacted by police brutality. VictimConnect envisions serving as a model for responsibly and effectively serving victims of all backgrounds and crime types in support of their recovery and empowerment. 8 references and appended VictimConnect Logic Model