Online you’ll find plenty of information about domestic violence. That’s not a problem. What is a challenge is trying to find the right help quickly and easily. Search results often reveal disparate shelter sites, help blogs, opportunistic ad-driven sites with outdated data, and paid placements by attorneys. The new website DomesticShelters.org is changing this reality by providing consumers the first online searchable domestic violence provider database.
“The great news is that there are many good people, organizations and providers trying to help, and in fact, helping,” said Anita Hildreth, executive director for Theresa's Fund, an Arizona-based charity that developed, launched and operates the website. “What we’re doing is aggregating an ocean of information into a single place.”
More than just aggregating information, the organizers of DomesticShelters.org tirelessly spent six months unearthing and identifying 3,001 domestic violence provider organizations in the U.S., and then gathering up to 156 data points on each.
The result is the largest database of its kind ever created, and importantly, the ability for DomesticShelter.org visitors to enter their location, language and service preferences, and with a single mouse click, instantly see the most proximate, relevant opportunities for help.
“If you conduct a search in this area, you’ll often not find all of the local providers listed on page one. Some providers don’t even have a web presence,” said Chris McMurry, a marketing and technology entrepreneur and director of Theresa’s Fund, who notes that the overwhelming majority of consumers begin their decision making process with an online search.
“We will be fixing that by moving the exploration of the provider community to the forefront of search results, and then by presenting visitors of DomesticShelters.org with standardized data on the providers that allows people to make comparisons and more educated decisions.”
Generally speaking, for each provider there will be contact information excepting confidential locations, languages spoken, populations and geographies served, hours of operation, vacancy rates, and detail on 46 different types of services that may be offered.
Importantly, provider organizations will be able to self-administer their organization’s profile on the website, updating fundamental information as it evolves and adding custom content to enhance the comprehensiveness and attractiveness of their operation and offerings.
According to Google more than 3,000,000 searches are conducted per month for information related to domestic violence, and most often related to seeking help.
The website will be optimized for smartphone and tablet use, recognizing that consumers are increasingly using their devices to conduct searches. Indeed, the number of local mobile searches is expected to exceed desktop searches by 2015, according to eMarketer.
“With some 36,000,000 million searches a year in just the U.S. on the topic of domestic violence, DomesticShelters.org is an overdue and much-needed concept that may help more people than any other service ever offered in this space, and may help save lives because it will be so easy, accessible and fast to use,” added Hildreth.
The website will also publish and supply helpful information about domestic violence, in addition to the provider database. Providers will be able to gain access to the entire database behind the website in order to better coordinate inter-agency referrals and services.
About Theresa’s Fund
Theresa’s Fund is an Arizona-based 501(c)3 non-profit charity started in 1992 by Preston V. McMurry, Jr. Originally, and at a time when domestic violence wasn’t yet a headline, Theresa’s Fund focused on changing the landscape of domestic violence services in its home state through grant making, board development and fundraising for Arizona-based organizations like East Valley Child Crisis Center, Sojourner Center, Florence Crittenden, Emerge, UMOM, and West Valley Child Crisis Center. In 2014, it developed the DomesticShelters.org concept as a way to expand its reach to people across the U.S./Canada. DomesticShelters.org is the first online and mobile searchable database of programs and shelters in the U.S./Canada, and a leading source of helpful tools and information for people experiencing and working to end domestic violence.