Chat and text lines can be lifelines for victims of crime and trauma who need help. For a Texas victim hotline program in a community with a large, underserved Latino population, chat lines and text lines show promise for helping more clients in more ways than conventional phone hotlines alone. Researchers are now assessing whether and how that promise has successfully helped victims, as part of an ongoing, multi-phase study. Specifically, this article details how a University of Texas at Austin research team is evaluating SAFEline. The program delivers services to victims of sexual assault and exploitation, intimate partner violence, human trafficking, and child abuse and neglect. An NIJ-funded study found that more than five out of six users of the SAFEline chat and text services reported that they found the service to be helpful (84.1%). Similar shares of users of the chat and text lines reported that hotline staff were knowledgeable about community-based resources (85.3%) and users were satisfied with the amount of time hotline staff spent chatting or texting with them (82.9%).
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