Snapchat, Twilio Offer Domestic Violence Support Amid Pandemic

Twilio announced Monday it will be committing $2 million in cash grants to organizations that are providing voice, text or chat support during the COVID-19 pandemic to help with an increase in demand. Snapchat is offering new in-app resources for users experiencing domestic violence.

Written by Ellen Glover
Published on May. 11, 2020
Snapchat, Twilio Offer Domestic Violence Support Amid Pandemic
SF-based Twilio and Snapchat announced Monday their plans to combat domestic violence amid COVID-19 pandemic
Photo: Shutterstock

As millions of Americans continue to shelter in place amid the COVID-19 pandemic, one unintended consequence is of both national and international concern: the rise of domestic violence.

An investigation by the Marshall Project has found that, although there appears to be a decrease in domestic violence incidents being reported to the police, that does not mean the problem is on the decline. Victims cannot get away from their abusive partners as easily anymore now that, across much of the country, we are all being made to stay in our homes, which makes it harder to report abuse through more traditional channels like the police.

Instead, online resources and crisis hotlines are shouldering more of these calls. Twilio, a San Francisco-based communications company whose tech powers many of the nation’s crisis hotlines, has found that usage of such services — including those related to domestic violence — has increased by 20 percent since the pandemic began. In response, the company announced Monday it will be committing $2 million in cash grants to organizations that are providing voice, text or chat support services during this crisis, as reported by Axios.

Snapchat, one of Santa Monica-headquartered Snap Inc.’s key products, also announced Monday its own plans to combat domestic violence. According to Axios, the company has teamed up with the National Network to End Domestic Violence to provide new in-app resources for users dealing with domestic abuse or looking to support those who are.

Part of Snapchat’s larger Here for You feature introduced in February, the tool allows users to search for support related to abuse, violence or stalkers. The content provided was developed by the NNEDV and will be made available in subtitles for people who don’t feel comfortable or safe viewing it with the sound on.

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