New Tool Eases Sexual Assault Reporting

A Wilmington, North Carolina-based technology company, Ten8Tech, will unveil Victim Link at the End Violence Against Women International (EVAWI) conference in Orlando, Florida, on April 18, 2017. Victim Link is a sexual assault reporting platform for law enforcement agencies and victim advocacy organizations.

Victim Link and the victim-focused portal Seek Then Speak are integrated communication tools that work together to empower victims with the information they need. The overarching goal is to increase sexual assault reporting and connect victims with services. EVAWI cites research estimating that no more than 5-20 percent of victims report the crime.

“Victim Link was born to break the cycle of silence,” said Anthony Formhals, president and chief executive officer of Ten8Tech. “We’ve leveraged our core technology to facilitate a conversation focused on what victims want. It’s not up to us to tell a victim of sexual assault what to do. Instead, the technology acts as a buffer between resources and victims – who are often hesitant to seek information and speak up. It’s our hope that providing knowledge and tools for victims, in a way that has never been done before, will help break the cycle of silence. We’re making resources easily accessible for the victims who need them.”

Seek Then Speak engages sexual assault victims in a supportive dialogue. They choose how they want to communicate: over the telephone with multilingual options; via a mobile app; through a text message interface; or at the Seek Then Speak website. Each option helps victims understand their rights and identify resources available in their community.

Victim Link connects victims to local victim advocates and enables reporting to college Title IX coordinators, the DOD Safe Help Line, or local law enforcement. If a victim chooses, the connection is made, but she/he will remain anonymous until a connection is requested. The victim remains in control of the information they share and with whom they share it.

EVAWI began this work with Start by Believing, the global campaign to transform responses to sexual assault victims. The campaign provides public awareness tools, equipping support networks with information on how to respond if someone asks for help. The response from the first person in whom the victim confides can be the first step in the victim’s long path toward justice and healing.

“When victims are doubted or blamed, they may never tell anyone else,” said Joanne Archambault, chief executive officer of EVAWI. “Then they won’t get the help they need, and they won’t report the crime. This worsens the victim’s trauma, and creates an environment where perpetrators face zero consequences for their crimes. These three tools – Start by Believing, Seek Then Speak, and Victim Link – work together to break this cycle and pave the way for more effective responses.”

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