The barriers to sexual assault reporting are real.
As few as 1 in 5 victims report their sexual assault, and most don’t contact healthcare providers or victim advocates. Many are afraid of not being believed or blamed for the assault.
When victims don’t report or seek supportive services, repeat offenders go undetected, law enforcement has difficulty identifying perpetrators, and more people are victimized.
That’s why we created Victim Link—to break down these barriers and give survivors additional access to connect with supportive services and law enforcement resources.
We believe that by linking these survivors to a support network, we can stop the cycle of silence and empower more survivors to speak up and reach out for help.
So what is Victim Link and what does it do?
Victim Link is groundbreaking technology that links law enforcement agencies, colleges and universities, and victim services agencies with sexual assault survivors seeking help and support.
It works in partnership with www.SeekThenSpeak.org. SeekThenSpeak.org is a national, multilingual platform that enables victims and their support people to gather information, explore options, and take action. The content was developed with guidance and expertise from End Violence Against Women International (EVAWI).
First, a survivor connects with Seek Then Speak however they are most comfortable – by voice over the phone, via the web, or by using a mobile app. The system then guides the survivor through a gradual, supportive dialogue that explains what happened and overviews important terminology, for example, the differences between sexual abuse and rape. This is the “Seek” phase.
After gathering info and exploring options, the victim can then choose to connect with a local rape crisis center or law enforcement. If the victim chooses not to do either, the Seek process ends, however, the person can return to SeekThenSpeak.org at any time.
For victims who want to connect or “Speak,” they can choose to either report to law enforcement and/or connect to victim advocacy services. At this stage, the victim will be given the opportunity to submit information, for example a name and contact number; they can provide as much or as little information as they choose.
After providing information, Victim Link sends an alert to the appropriate responding agency, letting the agency know someone has requested a connection. The agency then logs into its portal on Victim Link, reviews the report, marks it received, and begins its own internal processes for connecting with the survivor.
Currently, more than 100 law enforcement agencies, colleges, and victim services agencies are using Victim Link, reaching more than 21 million Americans from coast to coast.
Those connections have been facilitated by a no-cost, one-year subscription opportunity supported by funds from the Office for Victims of Crime. Eligible agencies can apply for a year of Victim Link service for free, with the option to renew for a second year.For more information about Victim Link, including information on how to apply for a year of free Victim Link services, visit www.victimlink.com.