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There's also a way for NDVH and other hotline agents to get some context around a survivor's situation, behind the scenes.NDVH uses a company called Live Person to power its chat windows.But, she said, any method that removes potential barriers for at least some survivors is welcome."The [abuser] will literally say, 'If you say a word to anyone, I'll kill you,'" said Nadine Kaslow, the president of the American Psychological Association. And if they don't get the support they need on that initial contact, they might not want to reach out a second time."At NDVH -- which launched in 1996 and is partially funded through a federal act -- chat is now the number one way survivors reach out, followed by phone and then text.They first piloted live chat in 2007 through a youth-focused program called Loveisrespect.
You can also call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.
Online chat is a potential way out for those who can't make a phone call, Pinero said, but the anonymity it affords is also especially helpful for those suffering sexual abuse, as well as deaf, male and LGBT survivors."As an agent, you have to be so careful when someone is reaching out -- if you're on the phone and you're a man saying you're being abused, you don't want someone to necessarily assume your partner is a woman," Pinero said.
"With chat there's no barrier, no one hearing your voice, no need to explain your full situation if you don't want to."Chat isn't the only way to reach out, and it isn't the best method for every survivor, pointed out Nadine Kaslow, the president of the American Psychological Association.
In one example from 2012 that Pinero relayed, a woman reached out to a NDVH chat agent via a campus library computer.
Her husband was physically abusing her, she explained to the agent, and he controlled all parts of her life including where and with whom she went.