About the Live Chat Helpline
Our one-to-one Live Chat Helpline is a free, confidential emotional support service for women and girls who have experienced sexual violence.
When is the Live Chat Helpline open?
The Live Chat Helpline is open during the following times:
- Monday: 2pm-4.30pm, 6pm-9pm
- Tuesday: 2-4.30pm, 6pm-9pm
- Wednesday: 12pm-2.30pm, 6pm-9pm
- Thursday: 12pm-2.30pm, 6pm-9pm
- Friday: 9am-11.30am
You can also check whether the Live Chat Helpline is open.
Who can access the Live Chat Helpline?
Our Live Chat Helpline is for women and girls aged 16 and over, who live in England, whose lives have been affected by sexual violence. It doesn’t matter whether it happened recently or a long time ago, we are here for you.
The Live Chat Helpline is not available for men and boys, or children under 16.
If you do not meet our criteria, you may be able to get more information or support by visiting:
- Support for men and boys
- Support for children and young people
- Support for survivors living outside of England & Wales
- Supporting a survivor
What will happen during a session?
The Live Chat Helpline is a text-based service that you can access through the Rape Crisis England & Wales website.
You will have up to 45 minutes to talk to the operator through text. You may have less time if the session or operator’s shift is ending soon.
During the session, our operators are here to listen and offer you emotional support. You can talk about what happened to you, how you feel, and any difficulties you are facing. Because the service is confidential and anonymous, we don’t and can’t offer a counselling service.
Our operators are experienced in supporting survivors to share things at their own pace. You will have control over the conversation and can end it whenever you want. If you are finding the idea of using the Live Chat Helpline daunting, rest assured that our operators will support you through the process.
Our Live Chat operators
All of our Live Chat Helpline operators are women from Rape Crisis Centres in England. They have training and experience in providing emotional support to people who have experienced sexual violence.
Will I always speak to the same person?
During a Live Chat Helpline session, you will chat one-to-one with one of our operators.
Our operators do not give their name during chats.
If you visit again after your session is finished, you may speak to a different person who will not have access to any details of your previous chat.
What can I do if the Helpline is busy?
We regularly face very high demand on our Live Chat Helpline. As our operators only chat to one survivor at a time, and chats may last up to 45 minutes, you may sometimes find that you are unable to chat with an operator straight away. Please be patient and try again.
Is the Live Chat Helpline a referral line?
The Live Chat Helpline is to provide one-off sessions of emotional support. Operators can provide you with information on how to contact our Rape Crisis Centres, but they will not be able to make referrals to local services.
Can I contact the Live Chat Helpline more than once?
You will not be prevented from visiting more than once. However, as we do not retain any records of your chats, if you do visit again the operator will not have access to what you previously discussed.
Whilst the Live Chat Helpline can provide you with emotional support, is not designed to provide ongoing support or counselling.
Prank and abusive users
Should an operator believe they are dealing with a prank or obscene caller, they have the right to terminate the chat.
Our Live Chat operators may ask a user to desist if they find the language used to be extreme and unacceptable. The operator may choose to end the chat if the language persists.
Telling us what you think
When your live chat session has ended, you will be given the opportunity to leave feedback about your experience of the service.
We hope that you can take a few moments to do this as it helps us to ensure that we are offering a service that best fits the needs of survivors, as well as assisting to secure future funding for the service.
Your individual feedback will not be seen by any of the Live Chat operators.
If you would like to make a complaint about the Live Chat Helpline service or an operator, please visit our complaints page.
Personal data may need to be collected in the event of a complaint being made. It will only be used for the specific purpose of responding to the complaint and no further processing will be carried out.
Experiencing any technical issues?
If you are having technical problems with the Live Chat Helpline service, please contact us.