W.O.M.A.N., Inc. Domestic Violence Referral Center

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By: Shaena Spoor - shaena@womaninc.org

What is the DVIRC?

For the last 9 months, W.O.M.A.N., Inc. has been working with Code for San Francisco volunteers to build a new website to replace our old Domestic Violence Information Referral Center (DVIRC.) Designed to connect domestic violence service providers across California, the DVIRC is a database that provides a safe space for domestic violence agencies to share and access resources on services available to the people they serve. Since its development in 2012, the DVIRC has supported thousands of domestic violence survivors by finding safe shelter and providing an accessible “one-stop-shop” for agencies to share up-to-date information about availability of shelter beds and other emergency services.

Why did you end up partnering with Code for SF volunteers?

While it had served as an integral part of our daily work with survivors, the old DVIRC system was costly to maintain and became dysfunctional and outdated over time. We needed to find a new platform that would be simpler, and less expensive for hosting the website. Initially, it was challenging to find the help we needed – there is only so much funding available, and companies often said the new DVIRC project was too involved for what they could offer pro bono. I reached out to a friend of mine, who both works in tech and has experience working with nonprofits, to see if she had any insights on who W.O.M.A.N., Inc. could reach out to. She told me we should give Code for America [Code for SF’s parent organization] a shot.

How did the project come together?

In May 2018, we dropped into Code for San Francisco’s new member orientation, and pitched the DVIRC project to see if anyone would be interested in helping out. I was pleasantly surprised by the overwhelming amount of people who wanted to lend a hand. It took some time, but we eventually formed a solid group of volunteers who took on a variety of roles, helping us research alternative platforms, create the new site, and engage in usability testing. It was also helpful that the Code for SF core team was so supportive in checking in with us and offering space so we could make sure the project was successful.

How do you feel now that the website is officially launched?

We were so excited to share the new system with the W.O.M.A.N., Inc. team and other community partners who count on the website to provide up-to-date referrals to their clients. The new website is refreshingly simple to maintain and to train/onboard users on. We are so happy with the results!

We very much appreciate the spaciousness and support offered by the SF brigade, the volunteers who came together to make this possible, and everyone who showed up in the in-between to offer their expertise. Special thanks to PJ Cabrera, Lucas Kellner, Sarah Miller and Jessie Stocks for the immense time and energy they put into making this new website a reality!

Women Organized to Make Abuse Nonexistent, Inc. (W.O.M.A.N., Inc.) has operated since 1978 as a community-based, multi-service agency, serving people who’ve experienced abuse in San Francisco and the larger Bay Area. We support survivors of domestic violence and their loved ones along their healing journeys, bridging value-rich networks designed to address intersections of violence. www.womaninc.org/__


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