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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 306-11
April 15, 2011

DOD Launches New Helpline to Support Victims of Sexual Assault

            The Department of Defense today launched its newest initiative to support victims of sexual assault.  Using DoD Safe Helpline, service members can “click, call or text” for victim support services for themselves or others.  The free, anonymous and confidential resource can be accessed worldwide, 24-hours a day, every day, to connect with live sexual assault support professionals.

            In addition to improving victim care, secure and confidential access to Safe Helpline was developed to encourage victims to come forward when they might not otherwise. 

            “The underreporting of sexual assault poses a serious challenge to military readiness,” said Clifford L. Stanley, under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness.  “We believe the Safe Helpline will provide DoD sexual assault victims with a variety of support outlets, which will lead victims to report sexual assault, seek needed information, and receive care.”

            Safe Helpline offers three access options designed for service members.  Users can log on to http://www.SafeHelpline.org to receive live, one-on-one confidential help with a trained professional through a secure instant-messaging format.  The website also provides vital information about recovering from and reporting sexual assault.  A second option is to call the telephone hotline at 877-995-5247 to speak with Safe Helpline staff for personalized advice and support.  Safe Helpline staff can also transfer callers to installation-based sexual assault response coordinators (SARC), on-call victim advocates, civilian rape crisis centers, or to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline.  The third option is for users to text their location to 55247 inside the United States or 202-470-5546 outside of the United States to receive automated contact information for the SARC at their installation or base. 

            Further information on Safe Helpline can be found on http://www.SafeHelpline.org or at http://www.sapr.mil .

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