Iowa domestic violence website a model for other states

Por en Noticias 01/28/13 10:51am
A screengrab from the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence's website

We at Hoy have been investigating domestic violence in the state’s immigrant communities for the past several weeks.

We’ve revealed factual inaccuracies on the Department of Human Services’ website, published two posts detailing our results from a survey of domestic violence providers in the state (here’s the second one), published a video interview with Andrew Oh about domestic violence in the Korean community, and explored what the Congress’ failure to renew the Violence Against Women Act means for potential U visa applicants.

These first steps ask: What’s out there for victims?

To keep getting at that question, we’ve started comparing some of the services available in other states to those in Illinois.

Specifically, in Iowa, our next-door neighbor.

We took a look at the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s website, the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s website, and the Department of Human Services’ website to see which work best.

A note: We’ve found another instance of out-of-date information at the DHS website.

On their list of providers to domestic violence victims, DHS lists “Phasewave,” in Rockford.

The problem with that: Phasewave is no longer known as Phasewave. It hasn’t been known as Phasewave since 2009.

Now it’s called Remedies Renewing Lives, according to Vice President of Operations Karen Gill.

The state’s resource list is riddled with inaccuracies.

Remedies Renewing Lives, by contrast, is listed accurately on the Illinois Coalition for Domestic Violence’s website.

Compared with the state’s resource list, the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s website is much better, listing names of groups, phone numbers and websites for domestic violence providers across the state.

But for ease of accessibility, the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence is extremely good, and one that the state of Illinois specifically should try to emulate.

Why is it better?

For one, it’s simpler for victims.

If you show up on the Iowa Coalition’s homepage, there’s a link at the top: “Find my local program.”

You can see, at the top, "Find my local program"

That takes you to an attractive interactive map of the state, by counties, and a list of domestic violence providers statewide.

More importantly, it lists specific contacts at every organization.

The Illinois Coalition’s website requires you to scroll your mouse over a dropdown menu — Get Help Now — that gives you four options.

The top one is the one listing organizations in Illinois, but the offering isn’t as clean as Iowa’s.

A view of the Illinois Coalition's site and the menu

Of course, these two websites are both much better for victims than the state of Illinois’.

Which is a little strange because, even with its ongoing budget problems, the state’s got a lot more money than these non-profits.