Sexual assault survivors stationed anywhere in the world can now call DoD Safe Helpline at no charge through the Safe Helpline app . Instead of using cell minutes or forcing the caller to make an international call, the app now allows calls to connect via Wi-Fi or using their phone’s data plan. This feature is now available in app for iPhone and iPad (yes, you can even make calls directly from your iPad) and will soon be added to the Android app.
The Safe Helpline app allows survivors to create a personalized self-care plan to help in their recovery process. It also provides information about recovering from an attack, a searchable database of military and civilian help, and easy access to helpline staff for crisis intervention, advice and support.
“DoD Safe Helpline’s new feature uses the Internet, not cellular signal, to give users access to on-the-go sexual assault support,” said Jennifer Marsh, RAINN’s vice president for victim services. “Even if you don’t have cellular phone reception, you can make free international calls to the telephone helpline without using up cellular minutes. It’s also completely confidential – you can use access the service from the privacy of your own mobile phone or tablet from anywhere in the world.” Data charges may apply if a caller has exceeded his or her carrier’s data cap.
The app just won the President’s Innovation Award  from the American Telemedicine Association, for being a groundbreaking use of technology to help sexual assault survivors with their recovery. Bette Stebbins, DoD’s senior victim assistance advisor, and Scott Berkowitz, RAINN’s president, accepted the award at ATA’s annual convention in Austin this month. RAINN operates the Safe Helpline under contract with the Defense Department, and created the app for DoD’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office.