WEAVE Sponsored Legislation Signed by Governor
AB 689 Increases Access to Domestic Violence Support Services Through Technology
WEAVE takes pride in pioneering new approaches to supporting survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and sex trafficking. By focusing on the needs of survivors and their feedback, we create approaches to ensure our services are accessible and inclusive. An example of this is when we added anonymous message boards to our website in 2008. Recognizing that a growing number of survivors preferred an alternative to calling led us to evaluate offering secure and confidential chat, but existing government funding would not pay for the service.
The modernization of domestic violence center hotlines through AB 689 is critical to the ongoing support of survivors, which WEAVE recognized and subsequently took the opportunity to sponsor the legislation introduced by Assembly Member Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach).
WEAVE had previously advocated for alternative methods of support and access for survivors using technological platforms, and planning for such technology was already underway when mandatory stay-at-home orders went into effect due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In early 2020, while survivors were forced into greater isolation with abusive partners, WEAVE launched a live chat feature on their website—a confidential and safe method to connect with an advocate outside of WEAVE’s 24/7 Support & Information Line. While we were able to pay for initial costs with private donations, sustaining this critical service was a priority.
“When survivors are ready to reach out for assistance or information it is vital that they have multiple options for doing so,” said Beth Hassett, WEAVE CEO. “Expanding the crisis line service to include texting or live chat gives them more doors for entry into lifesaving services and support.”
WEAVE recognizes the benefit of having an alternative option to a crisis line, such as our online live chat feature, due to the proximity of the abuser in the home, lack of access to an unmonitored phone, and even the comfort level and readiness for a survivor to reach out for help. Seeking support through an online chat can be the first step toward accessing much needed services.
With AB 689 signed into law by Governor Newsom, WEAVE looks forward to increased possibilities to further increase access for survivors seeking services. Survivors currently in need of support can connect with a WEAVE advocate through the 24/7 Support & Information Line at (916) 920-2952 or online using the live chat feature at weaveinc.org.