The Department of Defense Safe Helpline — a crisis-response resource that provides sexual assault victims with an anonymous and confidential system of support 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from anywhere in the world — marks three years of operation this month.
Since 2011, more than 20,000 people have sought one-on-one sexual assault assistance and crisis support securely and anonymously through the Safe Helpline’s online chat, telephone and texting help lines, officials said.
To mark the milestone, Army Maj. Gen. Jeffrey J. Snow, director of the Defense Department’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, visited the call center to thank the professionals who support sexual assault victims.
“The Department of Defense is committed to ensuring a victim-centered focus in responding to the crime of sexual assault,” Snow said. “The Safe Helpline is instrumental in helping us provide this support by immediately providing human interaction combined with educational resources to victims, which can facilitate critical medical care and support, even if they are not ready to file an official report.”
Safe Helpline’s highly trained professionals provide one-on-one assistance, moderated group chats and a self-help app, among other referrals for resources on and off military bases and installations, to ensure victims can find support in forums in which they feel most comfortable.
Service referrals include information for sexual assault response coordinators, along with legal, medical, mental health and spiritual military resources.
Safe Helpline is administered by the Defense Department and operated by the nonprofit organization Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, through a contract with DOD’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office.
“We’re proud to continually provide victims of sexual assault with an anonymous and confidential line of support as part of our victim-centered mission,” Snow said. “By taking a leading role in developing innovative victim support services for military survivors of sexual assault, I believe the Department of Defense can and must be a leader in addressing survivor needs.
“The DOD Safe Helpline has proven in three years that it’s invaluable to service members who look to the department to help address their needs on their terms.”