Google has announced that the National Domestic Violence Hotline (The Hotline) is now working with it to offer quick access to domestic violence information and 24/7 support to those who are in need of it. Now, U.S. users will see a box displaying the contact information for The Hotline, with direct access to its phone and chat services, when they search for information related to domestic violence on Google.
The new initiative will aid survivors, particularly those in crisis, access the information and connection to the support, that will be available round the clock, they need without having to scroll too much. It is also the only national 24-hour domestic violence hotline offering support, life-saving resources, and personalized safety planning through phone, online chat, and text.
The new services will be provided in English and Spanish through bilingual advocates and in over 200 other languages through interpretation. Google says that its advocates will be available round the clock to answer questions and give advice about internet safety for survivors. With COVID-19 pandemic, the risk factors for domestic violence have only gotten worse hence, quickly connecting survivors with support is critical at present.
Talking about the domestic abuse risk factors, Google stated:
More people are experiencing isolation and are limited in their ability to go to work, go to school or see friends and family. The pandemic has also accelerated an increase in economic and housing instability for many experiencing abuse: Since 2016, housing instability as a concern has grown by an average of 20% annually among those contacting The Hotline. All these factors heighten the risk of relationship abuse, and limit the ability of survivors to reach out for support. COVID-19 has left many survivors feeling trapped in their homes with an abusive partner – with limited time to get resources or information.
The new partnership will ensure that the initial resource that users see when searching for domestic violence information is reliable and helpful, and enables them to receive support as quickly as possible.