Victim Advocate Network

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VISION/GOAL

  • We want to help targets of online harassment & abuse get speedy, effective and compassionate responses from the major online social media platforms.
  • We are building a portal connected to a network of trained, supported & culturally & linguistically competent victim advocates who can help targeted people navigate the reporting systems of all the major social media platforms


Problem:

Traumatized victims are often overwhelmed by reporting systems, and therefore either don’t report or provide incomplete or confusing reports that platforms find difficult to act on. These kinds of reports are labor-intensive and expensive for platforms to act on, and require a specialized set of skills to perform effectively and without lasting secondary trauma. When done incorrectly, targeted individuals suffer, perpetrators persist, and companies fail to live up to their own internal standards and risk bad press and lasting repetitional damage.

Solution:

We will build a small pilot project to test the model we will use to build our portal and victim advocate network. Two key elements will be secure live chat and/or video, partnered with online tips, FAQs and guides. Wherever possible, we will take advantage of existing gender-based violence crisis NGOs, training, supporting and augmenting their existing staff. The advocates will help victims file more effective reports, helping both the victims and the platforms to arrive more quickly and efficiently at satisfying outcomes.

Target audience:

  • Gender - primarily women and other gender minorities
  • City/location - Pilot: US. Eventual expansion to qualified, vetted and trained NGOs across the globe.
  • Potential partners: Heartmob, WAM!, NNEDV, Take Back the Tech!, global NGOs, hotlines, etc.

Next Steps:

  • Identify one platform for pilot, possibly Facebook, approach potential partners and get commitments

Outreach:

  • Initially, we will use marketing and the power of partners online networks to reach potential targets. Ideally, partnering platforms will include a link to the portal in their native reporting flow.

Our Team:

  • Cindy Southworth, founder of the Safety Net Technology Project at the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV), advises tech comapnies and leads network of victim advocates, serves on the board of the Global Network of Women’s Shelters
  • Sara Baker, Association for Progressive Communications/Take Back the Tech! global coordinator and former designer of victim advocacy programs & Erika Smith, Association for Progressive Communications Mexico End Violence & Women’s Digital Safety Project in Mexico.
  • Jaclyn Friedman, Founder, Women, Action & the Media (WAM!), architect of Twitter Harassment Reporting Demonstration Project
  • Global Network of Women’s Shelters (GNWS), globall network of vetted GBV NGOs
  • Jenny Toomey, Ford Foundation, possible advisor
  • Shauna Dillavou, founder, CommunityRed, Digital Security expert,


Together, we have the combined reach, access and relationships with the major platforms, victims of harassment and abuse, and victim advocacy networks. We also have extensive technology expertise to create a secure and efficient network. Our group includes victims of online harassment and abuse, as well as experts in assisting victims in reporting to platforms.

Next Steps:

  • We will reach out to potential partners and solidify the proposal, then meet with Facebook for an exploratory conversation.

What We Need Now:

  • From people who’ve reported online harassment to one or more platforms, we need feedback on what kind of help or information would have been useful
  • Funding for pilot project
  • Platforms to partner with us