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We’re Still Here: Reaching Survivors of Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence at Home

“We’re Still Here” turns critical violence prevention resources into digital, mobile-ready information decks that providers can distribute.

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This pivot idea is a partnership between Human Experience Systems, LLC (“HXS”) and Rutgers University Center on Violence Against Women and Children (“the Center”). 

For the past 2 years, HXS has been working on designing a web-based mental health resource called "ReflectDeck", which was finally rushed to launch in beta form in March, the beginning of the COVID epidemic. ReflectDeck focuses on short-form content compiled into “decks”, delivered in a graphically engaging swipeable format similar to social media.

We realized that the design and format of the existing mental health "information decks" could quickly be adapted to other content, and reached out to the Center about the possibilities of utilizing ReflectDeck for this pivot challenge.

The Center's mission is to address instances of violence against women and children while tackling the power imbalances that permit violence to exist. As the Center has seen local partners transition to serving communities around New Jersey through digital means, staff have been inspired to look for ways to assist those providing direct services to people experiencing violence at home. One of the needs that has risen to the top is a relatively simple one - access to resources in a safe way. Many of the current resources for violence prevention and safety-planning are held with direct service contact or are not quickly accessible.

"We're Still Here" will combine the content expertise of the Center and the technology & design capabilities of Human Experience Systems to produce critical violence prevention resources that are digital, mobile-ready, and quick to distribute with a single link.

What is the need are you focusing on?

In a recent webinar conducted by the State of New Jersey on the topic of domestic violence, state-wide service providers indicated that their direct service offices were previously providing about 5% tele-support of clients, but are now 100% virtual. One challenge is that their information resources for survivors of domestic violence are not immediately ready for delivery via tele-counseling, and the agencies are not easily able to transition to 100% virtual tele-support. Thus, the idea for “We’re Still Here” was born among staff members at the Rutgers University - School of Social Work - Center on Violence Against Women and Children (“the Center”).

Which type of submission are you sharing?

  • Sharing a pivot idea your organization is considering or could consider

Describe the business pivot or adaptation in 3-4 sentences.

"We're Still Here" will combine the content expertise of the Rutgers University Center on Violence Against Women and Children and the technology & design capabilities of Human Experience Systems LLC, the developer of "ReflectDeck" - a web-based mental health application - to produce critical violence prevention resources that are digital, mobile-ready information decks that providers can distribute.

Do you plan to implement this solution?

  • Maybe-with additional support

Describe the impact that this solution will create in the world.

We are inspired to do what we can to assist those providing direct services to those experiencing violence and often unable to escape. One of the apparent needs is access to resources in a safe way. These resources will be immediately deployable within the United States through the Center’s state and national connections. Importantly, we will also be able to include Spanish-language versions to ensure that some of our most vulnerable and often disconnected communities are able to access these mobile resources.

What is the name of your business or organization?

Human Experience Systems, LLC and Rutgers University Center on Violence Against Women and Children partnering to produce "We're Still Here" web-based resource

What does your business/company do? Whose needs does your business/company address? Who do you serve?

The Center on Violence Against Women and Children strives to eliminate physical, sexual, and other forms of violence against women and children and the power imbalances that permit them. We accomplish our mission through a collaborative approach that focuses on multidisciplinary research, education, and community engagement. http://vawc.rutgers.edu Human Experience Systems, LLC is an NJ-based design consultancy. We utilize a creative human-centered approach heavily influenced by principles and guidelines from the world of design. We are design first, not tech first! We work with clients in academia and academic institutions, cultural heritage, as well as startups, non-profits, and small- businesses. http://hxsdesign.com

What is your profession?

Social worker & entrepreneur

Where are you located (country)?

United States

Where are you located (region)?

  • North America

What industry is your business/company in?

  • Academia/Research
  • Designer(UX/CX/Design Research)
  • Entrepreneur/Investor

How many people does your business/company employ?

  • 0-10

How old is your business/company?

  • 2-5 years old

Which classification describes your organization/business?

  • Business

What kind of stakeholders and partnerships are needed to pursue this solution?

  • Funding- Grants

Do you need help building partnerships and finding partners?

  • No

What do you think are the main barriers to implementing this solution?

The main barrier to implementation is available time and resources. The Center on Violence Against Women and Children runs a full spectrum of research, teaching, and programs. Human Experience Systems is engaged with several projects. The idea of “We’re Still Here” relies on the funding to procure the time and resources needed to produce the proposed solution - the technology, the translation, and the staff involvement in converting existing information resources into a safe, secure, mobile-friendly format.

If you are currently working on a pivot, what have you learned so far?

Although we have not started implementation, the process of working through this pivot challenge was the key inspiration for identifying this particular need as we thought through what is realistic and possible given the desired timeframe of 4 weeks implementation and the maximum funding amount. We know we do not have the ability to produce a native app given this time and budget, and that actually web-based safety and privacy controls are currently more advanced than app store controls.

Are you aware of any open source efforts, hackathons or other collaborative efforts related to your solution? Are you participating in these efforts?

We are not aware of other efforts to convert critical violence prevention resources into digital, mobile-ready information decks that providers can distribute nationally.

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