SafeNest, in partnership with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD), has expanded Project Safe (PS417) to offer around-the-clock support to victims of domestic violence seven days a week. SafeNest has deployed new dispatch software that includes a smartphone app to allow for faster response time and increased safety protocols for SafeNest first responder volunteer advocates.
A $500,000 grant from Nevada Women’s Philanthropy (NWP) enabled the program’s expansion.
“Thanks to the NWP grant, we have enhanced and streamlined the dispatch process through upgraded software,” said Liz Ortenburger, SafeNest Chief Executive Officer. “We’re now able to respond faster and provide life-saving resources to more victims.”
SafeNest runs the most comprehensive, full service 24/7 domestic violence hotline in Clark County. In addition to providing support, resources, and safety planning, SafeNest is the only hotline in the Valley that can process Emergency Temporary Protection Orders (ETPO) over the phone.
SafeNest’s PS417 now serves 10 of Metro’s 11 Las Vegas Valley command centers using new dispatch software that replaces an antiquated text-based dispatching process. Previously, upon receiving a call from Metro dispatch, SafeNest hotline staff texted an address to first responder volunteers.
With the new software fully operational, upon receiving the request for service from Metro, the call is broadcast to all on-duty PS417 first responder volunteers via smartphone app. The app is connected to Google Maps allowing hotline dispatchers to relay the location and anticipated volunteer response time to Metro.
When they reach the scene, PS417 first responder volunteers meet with Metro officers and register arrival on the app. Likewise, they note call completion on the app, alerting Hotline/dispatch that they are available for new calls. The program’s previous process did not let hotline/dispatch know where the advocates were or whether they were occupied. The Beacon software also adds a level of efficiency and personal safety for the for the first responder volunteers.
Prior to the program expansion in mid-September, SafeNest received an average of 30 PS417 calls per month. Since installation of the new software, PS417 first responder volunteers have responded to well over 250 calls.
“We spent a lot of time tracking advocates down; calling, texting to see where they were and if they were available for calls,” said Ortenburger. “Often times we were interrupting volunteers in the middle of their onsite advocacy and/or while they were driving.”
The NWP grant funding also allowed SafeNest to hire a new hotline manager and two additional hotline advocates to support the program expansion. Additional grant resources have been utilized to provide prepaid mobile phones, gift cards and clothing to victims in need.
“NWP is confident in SafeNest and its ability to put first-responder volunteers at domestic violence calls as they are taking place when they are needed the most,” NWP president Sara Costello said. “It is an honor to be a part of PS417’s life-saving city-wide expansion.”
Project Safe 417, named for Metro’s 417 code for domestic violence patrol calls, launched in December 2017 at the police department’s Northwest Area Command Center. In the program’s first year, domestic violence-related homicides at the command center dropped from six in 2017 to none in 2018.
“Expanding PS417 citywide has been our goal from day one,” said Ortenburger. “This program has proved that early intervention with victims results in fewer homicides and a safer community for everyone.”
SafeNest is Nevada’s largest and most comprehensive non-profit agency dedicated to ending the epidemic of domestic violence in Clark County. Since opening its doors in 1977, SafeNest has answered over 500,000 hotline calls and sheltered over 20,000 individuals. Programs include: 24-hour domestic violence hotline, confidential shelter, protection order services, counseling, advocacy, court assistance and prevention education. For more information, visit www.safenest.org.