Chat Support – Terms and Conditions

Who is this Service for? 

Web Chat Support is meant for any and all sur­vivors of sex­u­al and gender-based vio­lence and their supporters. You can speak with a counsellor, no matter what your experience of violence was or how long ago. You can speak with a counsellor if the violence didn’t happen to you but to a loved one. You can speak with a counsellor for support in figuring out how to support the survivors in your life. 

If you are not here to speak about survivorship please get in touch with us via email. For example, if you are a front line worker or clinical professional or media, we ask that you get in touch with us by emailing

 

When is this service available? 

Chat Support is available from 7 pm to 12 am (midnight) from Wednesday through Sunday. These hours of operation are subject to change. If the chat will be unavailable for whatever reason, an announcement will be made on our website and social media. 

If you could use some support outside of the chat working hours you are welcome to call our TRCC/MWAR 24-Hour Crisis Line at 416-597-8808. An answering service will take your message and the counsellor will give you a call back. 

 

Chat Support Expectations

  • Like our Crisis Line, Chat Support has an intended limit of about 20 minutes per chat. You can decide to end the chat before that. A lot happens in 20 minutes! We find this is usually enough time to listen and support. 
  • Chat Support will start promptly at 7:00 pm. Chat intakes for the day end at 11:40 pm. This is to ensure all people accessing the chat (including the last person of the evening) get about 20 mins with the peer counsellor. 
  • If you are in a chat room and 10 min­utes pass with­out the counsellor receiv­ing a new mes­sage from you, the chat will close auto­mat­i­cal­ly. We do this for your privacy, in case you are not attending to your conversation. Your message history will disappear. However, you are wel­come to start a new chat when you’re ready!
  • If you nav­i­gate away from the TRCC/MWAR website the chat room will disappear automatically. If there are technical issues on either end, the chat room will get disconnected. In any case where your chat room disappears, you will be able to open up a new chat and get reconnected with the same peer counsellor. Simply refresh the page and send a new chat request! Sending a new request will reset your place in line. 
  • Chat Support will run on a first come, first served basis. You will see a message explaining that the counsellor is currently attending to other users. The counsellor will respond when it is your turn in line. 
  • If you have questions, concerns, or would like to give us your feedback you are very welcome! This is a pilot project from the TRCC/MWAR, and your support is greatly appreciated. Feel free to email

 

What information do I need to provide to access this support? 

Absolutely nothing; we do not need any information about you to support you.  It is an anonymous service. During the chat you may use your own name, or a different name, or no name at all. 

 

Will my information be shared or reported? 

Because this is a completely anonymous service (meaning we have no idea who you are) we will not have information about you to make a report.  We do not know your name, location or any other identifying information. 

Even to support you with finding resources in your community, we do not need to know your exact location. Therefore, if you disclose any sensitive information about an assault, your survivorship, or suicide ideation, we cannot involve external agencies. You get to decide what identifying information you share with us. 

As a survivor-led organization, we believe that autonomy in decision-making is very important in healing from violence. We will not make decisions for you. If you decide to make a report, we can support you with your decision and connect you with a staff member. 

If you are dealing with suicide ideation or self-harm, we are here to support your survivorship. Peer counsellors will listen to you and hold space for this experience. If you are having active suicide ideation, and are looking for someone to stop you, please reach out to 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.  

 

Respectful Engagement on the Chat 

The TRCC/MWAR operates from an anti-oppression, anti-racist, intersectional feminist peer support framework. The Web Chat is staffed by volunteer peer counsellors and staff who all abide by these values of the TRCC/MWAR community. 

We do not tolerate pranks or harassing chats. Any threatening and violent chat, including sexually abusive statements, racist statements, or any kind of discriminatory actions that violate our volunteer counsellors’ rights and safety will be ended. We will explain to you the respect we expect to be able to provide you with support. We will let you know when we are ending a chat because you are not adhering to our community values.   

We know that some survivors have also perpetrated sexual violence or intimate partner abuse. We can support you around your survivorship, but providing support about your experience perpetrating violence as an adult is not within our mandate. As a survivor-led organization, it is up to our peer-counsellors to decline a chat on this basis.

As a user of Web Chat Support, you are part of our community. If you have any feedback, praise, questions, or concerns about your experience accessing Web Chat, please email

 

How secure is this service? 

Your conversation on our Chat is between you and your peer counsellor. Chats are private and confidential. Only the service user and the counsellor can be present in the Chat room. 

Our Chat Service is built on a secure, end to end encrypted platform. Your digital footprint is erased every 30 seconds (this includes any cookies, IP address, etc). This ensures your information as a service user stays protected and stays anonymous. 

You decide when to exit the conversation. To end a chat all you need to do is click on the “X” at the bottom. You can also exit by clicking the Quick Escape button in the bottom right corner. Leaving the chat will automatically delete all traces of your conversation with us. 

 

How to erase your digital tracks online?

While we are taking numerous precautions to protect your safety online, it is equally important for you as a survivor to erase your tracks online. This is to prevent others from discovering your internet activity. 

If you are using web browsers like Google Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer and Fire­fox, these browsers can leave traces to show where you’ve been and what you’ve been looking at on the internet. Here are some simple things you can do to reduce the chances of someone discovering your tracks online. 

  1.     Use Private Browsing  Or
  2.     Erase the followings: Cache (copies of files you recently looked at) and history (single file contains the addresses of places you have been) 

Please Click Here to read more about how to erase your browser cache, cookies and history on mobiles and desktops. Please note that clearing the browser history will erase not only the information on where you’ve been, but any other information that had been previously stored there. Therefore, if you want to only cover your tracks of using this service but want to keep previous information intact, you will need to consider using a private browsing window in your preferred browser. Read TroubleShooting Alternatives sections of this page for instructions on who to access private browsing.