What is the Safe Helpline app?
The Safe Helpline app is a free mobile application that gives you access to Safe Helpline support and resources to help address the short and long-term effects of sexual assault. The app allows you to easily create and use a customized self-care plan with specially designed self-care exercises. Once downloaded, you can come back to view your plan and exercises at any time, even without an Internet connection.
You can also connect to all Safe Helpline resources directly from the app (Telephone Helpline, Online Helpline, Local Resources and Safe HelpRoom). You even have the option of connecting to the Telephone Helpline through Voice over IP (VoIP) technology if you are in a location that does not have cellular service as long as you are able to connect to the Internet (data connection or Wi-Fi).
Additionally, design elements of the app were specifically selected to support the unique needs of sexual assault survivors. Aesthetics such as the type of text on display and images used were all chosen to be soothing and generic to ensure you feel safe using the app in a public environment. Additionally, all of the self-care exercises are available in both male and female voices, and graphics on the app are all gender neutral.
How can the Safe Helpline app help me?
Self-care and ongoing support: The self-care plan and exercises on the app can provide immediate support anytime, anywhere, even without an Internet connection. The self-care plan can help you track and identify trends in how you are feeling at any given moment. These quick self-checks can be very helpful when in treatment or thinking about getting treatment. The self-care exercises can be supportive and be grounding if you feel triggered or overwhelmed. They can also help you feel supported until you can reach out to a loved one or victim advocate directly. If you are able to connect to the Internet, you can securely connect with other survivors for peer support through the Safe HelpRoom.
Get information: You can learn more about topics related to sexual assault, such as what to do if you or someone you know has been assaulted and the effects of sexual assault. You can also access our self-paced educational programs to provide additional information and usable tools. Programs available include Building Hope & Resiliency: Addressing the Effects of Sexual Assault, How to Support a Survivor, and Safe Helpline 101.
Finding local resources: If you are looking for help in your local area, you can access the full Safe Helpline database of military and civilian resources directly through the app. Learn more about the Safe Helpline Responder Database here.
Crisis Support: You can immediately access the Telephone and Online Helplines to speak anonymously with trained Safe Helpline staff for crisis intervention, support, and information to help you decide your next steps. Staff can be there to listen, provide empathy, work through scenarios, problem solve, and provide next steps and resources.
What is the Self-Care plan and how can it help me?
The self-care plan is created by answering a series of six questions designed to help you focus and identify how you are feeling at that moment. Questions are answered on a sliding scale of zero (never) to five (always), and the app will recommend different exercises based on your responses. There are no “good” or “bad” answers to these questions, and the questions are designed to help focus and tailor the exercises to what will be most helpful to you at that moment.
The self-care plan asks the following six questions:
- How often do you feel sad?
- How often do you feel anxious?
- How often do you have trouble falling or staying asleep?
- How often do you feel lonely or isolated?
- How often do you feel stressed or frightened?
- How often do you feel hopeless about the present or future?
The exercises include:
- Guided breathing
- Guided muscle relaxation
- Being at the beach
- Focusing on the present
- Soothing sounds such as sounds of the forest, and sounds of rain falling
Self-care plans are saved only on your phone and not in the cloud or any other network. The plan and exercises can be used to supplement ongoing therapy and help identify trends in your healing journey but are not intended as a replacement for counseling or other health services.
How to access the Telephone Helpline through the Safe Helpline app?
Safe Helpline uses Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology to enable free access to the Telephone Helpline directly from the app and was specifically designed to help members of the DoD community stationed Outside the Continental United States (OCONUS) access Safe Helpline services.
This technology allows you to access Safe Helpline without calling cards, expensive international phone plans, or access to the Defense Switched Network (DSN). It also ensures that use of the Telephone Helpline does not show up on your cell phone bill or call history. VoIP technology enables you to call the Telephone Helpline with only a Wi-Fi connection.
How is the Safe Helpline app secure, and is activity on the app traceable by third parties?
As with all Safe Helpline technology, The Safe Helpline app was created by RAINN to protect your safety and anonymity by ensuring that no personally identifiable information (PII) is collected.
The following precautions have been implemented to protect your privacy when using the app:
- The app does not require an email address or any of your contact information when it is initially downloaded.
- No information on how you use the app is ever collected or shared. This includes how often you use the app, who uses the app, or where you use the app.
Although self-care plans are saved to help you identify trends in your healing process, all plan information is stored only on your phone. If the app is ever uninstalled, all saved self-care plans are deleted.
While Safe Helpline has taken the steps outlined above to help increase the safety and anonymity of Safe Helpline app users, please remember that if you are using a DoD or other work-related device, your employer may be able to track your usage of this app.