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Digital Victim Advocate Program

San Bernardino County, CA
Program Year: 2021

Abstract:
Recognizing COVID-19 has caused the increased use of digital and social media while limiting or restricting travel abilities, the San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office has created the Digital Victim Advocate Program. This program consists of a victim advocate trained and assigned to assist the public affairs officer with communicating with victims of crimes, as well as the implementation of new technology to the office's website. Victims can now click on a chat bubble on the district attorney's website and be immediately connected with the victim advocate.Many victims are confined to their homes due to loss of work, travel restrictions, or loss of transportation. Calling on the telephone may not be an option due to the possible likelihood of being in proximity of an abuser, however; quietly chatting with a victim advocate is an option. The victim advocate is also available through the district attorney's office's social media platforms. Traditionally, victim advocates could only be reached through an office visit or a telephone call. Rather than causing victims to wait on a list to meet with an advocate, the digital victim advocate program makes help more readily available.Since its inception in July of 2020, there have been 537 messages handled by the victim advocate through the chat feature. In order to ensure victims are able to quickly leave the website should an abuser approach them while on their device, we've also embedded a rapid exit feature to take them to an unrelated search page.

Contact:
Mr. Michael Bires
Public Affairs Officer