the assessment

frequently asked questions

So you have some questions about the data? We’re happy to answer them.

This section is likely most useful for our colleagues in academia or research who are curious about our methodology, including our approach, data collection process, sample size, and analysis process.

Though, you might also be an advocate who is a data-enthusiast or data-curious, and we’re excited you’re here, too (just know, despite our best efforts to avoid using jargon whenever possible, there is some in this section that felt unavoidable).

If you have more questions or want to nerd out over the data together, please send an email to

Thanks for asking! We’ve provided some guidance below, but please use your best judgment.

Here is an example of a citation of the Key Findings page:
We Deserve Better Project. (2023). Key Findings.

When citing any other information on the website, unless a year is specified, please use (We Deserve Better Project, *current year*) as an in-text citation. For example, if you were referencing any of the recommendations, you could use: (We Deserve Better Project, 2024).

For the purposes of the assessment, we defined “advocate” as anyone who recently had worked at or was currently working at a victim service organization, including but not limited to rape crisis centers, domestic violence agencies, dual DV/SA organizations, and state, tribal and/or territory coalitions. Advocates may work directly with survivors of violence, but also include prevention educators, volunteer coordinators, financial or administrative staff, etc. It is possible that volunteers, interns, or board members may have completed the assessment.

While drafting the final content for this website, we arrived at the conclusion that the term “advocate” might unintentionally make some people feel excluded. Therefore, we’ve chosen to use “anti-violence worker” as an alternative. There are still some references to the term “advocate” throughout this website, and it should be understood that the terms “anti-violence worker” and “advocate” are interchangeable using the definition provided above.

The assessment was administered via Airtable as an online survey. At the end of November 2022, Survivors Know and The SOAR Collective advertised the assessment via Instagram and through email. We continued this through mid January 2023, asking others to share with their networks.

All participants had to check a box indicating they consented to participate in the survey and allow Survivors Know and The SOAR Collective to aggregate and anonymously share their responses in a report. Participants were told they could skip any questions or exit the survey at any time.

At the end of the assessment there was an option for respondents to provide their name and email address to 1) receive a copy of the report generated from the survey, 2) be invited to the webinar series we hosted to discuss the findings and 3) to potentially receive an incentive as a thank you.

Since we could not compensate advocates for their time, we provided a small incentive for a few respondents. For every person who shared their name and email, we assigned them a number. We used a random number generator to select 5 respondents at random to receive merchandise from The SOAR Collective and a printed copy of the zine Surviving & Thriving in Service.

Sure! Here is a copy of the questions we asked. Feel free to use the same questions in your own research. If you end up collecting similar data, we’d love to learn more about it and how we can support your work.

We received 268 responses, though only 254 advocates answered all the questions. There were 11 partially complete responses that we chose to include in the analysis, and 3 incomplete responses that were not included in the analysis. No one was required to complete the optional social identity questions, though many did. The 265 responses used in the analysis came from advocates in 31 U.S. states and 2 U.S. territories. Our goal was to receive at least 1 response from each state or U.S. territory.

We received responses from the following states and territories, listed in the order of most to least responses: Ohio (23.40%), Pennsylvania (16.23%), Wisconsin (10.94%), Alaska (7.92%), Indiana (5.28%), West Virginia (5.28%), Minnesota (3.40%), California (3.02%), New York (2.26%), Kentucky (1.89%), Illinois (1.51%), Nevada (1.51%), North Carolina (1.51%), Virginia (1.51%), Colorado (1.13%), Florida (1.13%), Iowa (1.13%), Louisiana (1.13%), Nebraska (1.13%), District of Columbia (0.75%), Hawaii (0.75%), Maryland (0.75%), Michigan (0.75%), New Jersey (0.75%), South Carolina (0.75%), Tennessee (0.75%), Texas (0.75%), Washington (0.75%), Arizona (0.38%), Missouri (0.38%), New Mexico (0.38%), Oregon (0.38%), and U.S. Virgin Islands (0.38%).

We did not receive any responses from 19 states including Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, or Wyoming. We did not receive any responses from 4 U.S. Territories including American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, or Puerto Rico, but did receive 2 responses from the District of Columbia and 1 response from the Virgin Islands.

While the assessment was anonymous, we asked for a few pieces of information that would help us better tell the story of who provided responses. All respondents were asked to share their job status, the type of agency they work(ed) at, and how long they have been involved in the movement. Other social identity data was optional to share.

Job Status: At the time of completing the assessment, the majority of respondents (80%) were employed at an anti-violence agency, while 13% had left their job but were still involved in anti-violence work in some way (e.g. volunteering). Only 7% indicated they left their job and were no longer involved in the anti-violence field.

Type of Agency: At the time of completing the assessment, nearly half of the respondents (48%) currently worked at or most recently worked at a dual agency that provided services for survivors of both domestic violence and sexual assault. Almost a quarter of respondents (24%) worked at or formerly worked at a rape crisis center (RCC), about 12% came from a state or territory coalition, about 9% indicated “other,” and almost 7% were from an agency that primarily serves domestic violence survivors.

Length of Time in Anti-Violence Movement: When we asked how long advocates have been involved in the anti-violence field overall, there was a relatively even spread across the available categories. A little over a quarter of respondents (27%) indicated they have been involved in the field for 5-9 years. While 18% of advocates reported being involved in the field overall for 15 or more years, only 4% are currently working at or had worked at their job for that length of time. Over half (55%) of respondents have been or had been working in their role for less than 3 years; and just over two-thirds of respondents (76%) had been working in their most recent role for less than 5 years.

Optional Society Identity Data Breakdown:
As a reminder, not all respondents shared their social identities with us. The numbers below only represent those who chose to answer optional questions at the end of the survey:

- Gender Identity: 100 respondents identified as a woman (37.7%), 21 respondents identified as nonbinary and/or genderqueer (7.9%), and 6 respondents identified as a man (2.2%).

- Race & Ethnicity: 113 respondents identified as Caucasian/ white (72.4%), 12 respondents identified as multiracial by selecting two or more races (7.7%), 10 respondents identified as Hispanic, Latin@/x or of Spanish origin (6.4%), 8 respondents identified as Indigenous or Native American (5.1%), 7 respondents identified as Black or African (4.5%), 5 respondents identified as Asian (3.2%), and one respondent identified as Kurdish (.6%).

- Age: 16 respondents are part of the 18-24 age bracket (10.1%), 76 respondents are part of the 25-34 age bracket (48.1%), 40 respondents are part of the 35-44 age bracket (25.3%), 12 respondents are in the 45-54 age bracket (7.6%), 10 respondents are part of the 55-64 age bracket (6.3%), and 4 respondents are aged 65 or older (2.5%).

- 86 respondents (32.5%) identified as part of the LGBTQIA+/Queer community.
- 65 respondents (24.5%) identified as someone who experiences chronic illness.
- 60 respondents (22.6%) identified as neurodivergent, Disabled, and/or as a person with a disability.

We did! One member of our team, who is employed as an evaluator, led the analysis process with support from a few other team members who had prior experience with thematic coding. To avoid any bias, multiple team members reviewed all responses from each open-ended question and agreed upon the themes and key findings across the data set as a whole.

As it is with anything, our assessment had limitations.

One limitation is that we had originally planned to ask about the role of each respondent, but launched the survey for a few weeks before realizing this question had been omitted. This is an error on our part and we regret not having this additional data to provide further context.

Another limitation was that we did not provide more options for those working more than 15 years in both questions related to the length of time they’ve been in the movement or at their job. One survey respondent commented, “I wish the longevity questions didn't stop at "more than 15 years." There is a legacy worth capturing and acknowledging the intergenerational compositions of groups and nonprofits in the field…This survey doesn't seem to include questions about leadership positions or folks with longevity in the movement.”

Some of the language we used for response options led to more confusion when analyzing the data. For example, we combined “homophobia” and “transphobia” into one option - even though these are different experiences.

A handful of respondents also let us know that they left their agency due to moving, because they got a new job, or they retired. One respondent commented, “Retirement should have been one of the options to begin with. All the above choices are negative. There are positive reasons to leave an organization, too.”

And due to the social identity data provided by some respondents, we know we should have been more intentional with our outreach to Black, Brown, Indigenous, and people of color in the movement.

If we conduct similar surveys in the future, we will make sure to address these limitations – we thank you for your grace.

We would like to acknowledge that throughout the entire survey, there were a few respondents who indicated they do not experience challenges at their agency and have enough resources. We want to validate that there are workplaces who do support their employees and create a positive agency culture.

An advocate from Kentucky shared, “Honestly, my organization is great. We've gotten lucky with having understanding leadership that works to create and enforce policies to help both clients and staff. However, I have heard of other sister agencies within our state that do not have good leadership, affecting the services provided in areas that truly need it.”

While this is not the norm, as the responses from this survey demonstrate, in the future we hope to learn from leaders and agencies who are “getting it right.”

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