SACHA, a non-profit organization in Hamilton providing numerous support systems to locals who have experienced sexualized violence, has launched a further means of aiding the community with new virtual support options.
These virtual options include a new online chat and text chat service, which offers accessible support to Hamilton residents who need it. These initiatives were launched earlier this month on, fittingly, International Women’s Day.
EXCITING NEWS! On International Women's Day, we are thrilled to launch our new WebChat & Text Support Service, to support survivors of sexualized violence of all genders and their allies. Read our blog for more information:https://t.co/CSUky8tBTd pic.twitter.com/vnTN9upPyj
— SACHA (@SACHAhamont) March 8, 2021
“International Women’s Day originated from the 1910 International Socialist Women’s Conference as a celebration of the strength of women and a call to action for radical social reform,” reads a statement on SACHA’s website.
“It is with this spirit of International Women’s day that we launch our new WebChat & Text Support Service, a part of SACHA’s response to COVID that channels the strengths and commitment of the feminist movement to support survivors of sexualized violence of all genders.”
SACHA also notes the increased need for these virtual services as brought on by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the need for SACHA’s 24-Hour Support Line. However, we know that lockdown measures and requirements to stay home can also mean a lack of privacy (when isolating with others), and a lack of safety (when isolating with an abuser) for some survivors,” they said.
“This can be a barrier to accessing support lines over the phone.”
Any individuals over the age of 16 are eligible to access the virtual service, which is currently available on Mondays from 4 pm to 12 am, Thursdays from 4 pm to 12 am, Fridays from 8 am to 12 pm, and Sundays from 4 pm to 8 pm.
Trained volunteers will be on hand to communicate in real time with those who use the service, offering non-judgemental listening, support, information, and help to explore potential options.
In the interest of increased safety, the platform SACHA is using also provides end-to-end encryption, meaning no conversations are saved or logged anywhere. Those who make use of the service are also free to provide as little or as much personal information as they may be comfortable with.
SACHA’s new WebChat and Text Support Service can be accessed by visiting their website.