When is the Live Chat service open?
The Live Chat is open on Wednesdays from 11:30am-2pm.
What is the Live Chat service?
If you need to talk, you can chat with one of our Live Chat volunteers during open hours.
It is an online service where you have up to 45 minutes to chat with one of our trained volunteers via instant message.
During the session, the volunteer will create a safe space for you to talk at your own pace. We will help you to find ways of expressing difficult feelings and to talk about difficult situations. We can ask questions and help you explore your options, and if you ask us for information about other forms of support, we can help provide this too.
We won’t give you advice or tell you what to do – we believe that you are the expert in your own life and that you are the best person to make decisions for yourself. Our role is to listen to you, believe you, and be here for you as you figure things out.
Who is the service for?
Our Live Chat service is available for women and girls over the age of 13 who have been subjected to any form of rape, child sexual abuse or any form of sexual violence. It doesn’t matter when this abuse happened, whether recently or a long time ago, we are here for you.
We are also here for those who are supporting a female survivor.
Male survivors can find information about relevant support services here.
If you are younger than 13, you can get support here.
How do I start and end a chat?
You can start a chat by clicking the purple chat bubble at the bottom right of your screen. This will only appear on Wednesdays from 11:30am-2pm, when live chat is online.
You can end a chat with us whenever you like, by clicking the cross at the top right of the chat box and clicking the ‘close the chat’ button which appears. This will end the chat but you will still see the window with the conversation you’ve just had. To get rid of this, navigate away from the page. If you return to start another chat, your chat history will have disappeared.
When you end a chat, there will be an optional survey that you can complete (see ‘Can I leave feedback/make a complaint?’ in the Frequently Asked Questions section below).
If you have any queries about the Live Chat service, please have a read through our FAQs below. If you don’t find the answer you need, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Live Chat FAQs
I’m a man, can I chat with you?
Our Live Chat service is for women and girls.
While we recognise the experiences and pain of men who have suffered any kind of sexual violence, here at TRC we have found that a women-only service provision is an invaluable environment for many female users.
We recognise the need for specialist services for men and more information about these services can be found here.
What if I’m not sure what happened to me?
We treat all forms of sexual abuse seriously and are here for you. It doesn’t matter if you’re not sure how to name it, if you don’t fully remember or if you aren’t sure how you feel about it, we will listen, believe you and talk it through with you.
Is Live Chat anonymous?
We have taken extensive measures to protect your privacy. Our Live Chat Helpline is an anonymous service.
You don’t have to give us your name or any identifying details about yourself. Because we don’t see any information about you, we have no way of recognising repeat visitors. This means that we will treat each conversation as individual, and if you use live chat more than once, we won’t pick up conversations where we left off.
We do not have access to the IP address of the device you are using, and therefore your location is unknown to us.
You can also find our privacy statement here.
How often can I talk to you on Live Chat?
You can talk to us whenever we are open, and each chat can be up to 45 minutes long. If you contact us towards the end of our opening times your chat may be shorter. We ask that you only chat to us once each day.
Can I always speak to the same volunteer?
If you contact us more than once over time, you will chat with different volunteers. We use the name Dorothy to represent the team at TRC. Our volunteers are all trained in providing support to survivors of sexual violence.
As we do not keep records of your chats, the volunteer will not be aware of what you have previously talked about.
Will you tell anyone what I say?
You can talk to us about anything in complete confidence. We will never repeat anything you say outside of TRC.
We do discuss our live chat helpline conversations confidentially with other volunteers and supervisors within the service. This is to encourage each other to deliver a good and consistent support service. We ensure this information never reaches anyone else.
We do not report anything that is said to us to the police or any other outside body. Our confidentiality policy is available for download if you want further information.
If you are under 18, we will not pass along anything you say unless you choose to tell us your full name along with your address or other identifying information (such as your school, phone number or email address). We respect your right to make your own decisions about what you choose to tell us.
Are the chats recorded?
What you discuss with the Live Chat Helpline volunteers during your live chat session is intended to be a private conversation. We delete all transcripts of live chat conversations after 7 days. This means that if you use the live chat service more than once, the volunteer you are speaking to will not be able to see your previous conversation history.
Hiding your tracks online
This link gives more advice on how to hide your tracks online. Please note, the information we provide is for guidance only and it may not be possible to completely hide your tracks.
What if the Live Chat is busy?
Our volunteers only speak to one person at a time, so when you join the live chat you may be placed in a queue.
As our chats can last up to 45 minutes, if the service is very busy it is possible you might not get through. We understand that this might feel difficult or disappointing, and we encourage you to try again the next time we are open.
You can also send us an email via our email support service, try our helpline, or use Rape Crisis England & Wales’ Live Chat, which is open to women and girls aged 16+.
There’s more information about all the ways to get support from TRC here.
What if the chat times out or becomes inactive?
If you are chatting to us from your phone or mobile device, your screen might go to sleep if you don’t touch it for a few minutes. If this happens, Live Chat will temporarily disconnect you as your device is asleep. Don’t worry if this happens. If you are waiting in the queue, you will not lose your place in the queue. If you are in the middle of a chat, it will automatically reconnect you when you come back, and you can continue the conversation where you left off.
If you don’t say anything in the chat for more than 10 mins, the volunteer will check if you are still there. If you do not respond they will let you know that they are going to end the chat. You can always come back and start a new one next time we are online.
Prank or abusive users
A Live Chat volunteer will end a chat if they believe they are dealing with a prank or abusive user.
Can I leave feedback or make a complaint?
At the end of each session, you can choose to give feedback about the service via a short form, if you would like to. Your views are incredibly important to us and help improve our service, as well as promote it and secure future funding. No personal information will be requested, and by completing the short form, you are agreeing to us using your anonymous feedback externally. You do not have to provide any feedback if you do not want to.
If you want to give more detailed feedback on your experience, our feedback form is also available for download. If you wish to make a formal complaint about the Live Chat Helpline, our complaints policy and procedure is available to download here.
Any feedback we get is treated anonymously, whether it is good or bad, and helps us to improve our service. We do sometimes use anonymous comments to help promote and fund the service, so if you don’t want your comments to be used, please tell us.
Where else can I get support?
The Rape Crisis England & Wales (RCEW) Live Chat Helpline offers a text-based service for women and girls who have experienced sexual violence. RCEW also has a national telephone helpline. To access the service, or find out more information, including opening times, please visit the RCEW website here.
It’s during Live Chat open hours but I can’t see where to start the chat
If you have opened the Live Chat page before the open hours and are waiting for the service to open, then you will need to refresh your page at the time the service opens (11:30am) in order to see the service is running.