Help is now just a text away for hundreds of domestic violence and sexual assault victims in Santa Clara County.
The innovative new program, Safe Chat Silicon Valley, is the first of its kind in the state and launched in August. The program is aimed at young people who are more comfortable texting.
"Sometimes people in need cannot pick up the phone, so why not give them a method that they're comfortable with," Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez said.
The idea is to allow victims to message trained crisis counselors for immediate help. In just a few weeks, 90 people have already used the new service.
"So far we've gotten calls from people in crisis, people asking what the domestic violence is because they're not sure if they're in a domestic violence relationship, and people seeking services," said Adriana Caldera with the YWCA.
Clients get professional guidance and are linked to services. The hope is the online option will alleviate some clients privacy concerns.
"People who are undocumented may have concerns about confidentiality on the phone that they don't have when they're online," said Melissa Luke with the Asian Americans for Community Involvement.
Safe Chat is run by several organizations, including the YWCA Asian Americans for Community Involvement, and Community Solutions.
For more information, visit the SafeChatSV.