BATON ROUGE, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Assault (LaFASA) is making it easier for victims to get the help they need. LaFASA has added a text-based service to its Helpline. Those looking for help can text 225-351-SAFE (7233) to chat with an advocate.

Katie Boleware is the Crisis Chat Intervention Program Coordinator, who directed the creation and implementation of the program. She says it was developed in response to recent trends.

“As we’ve seen throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, people might be at home with someone who might be hurting them and it’s not safe to make a phone call,” Boleware explained. “Also, accessibility-wise, not everyone can hear on the phone and then again comfortability. It might just be scary to say the words out loud.”

Louisiana is one of only four states in the country to offer statewide text and chat services. The new service is currently available Monday through Thursday from noon until 8:00 p.m. and is available for all 64 parishes in the state.

The Helpline is run by advocates trained by LaFASA called Crisis Support Specialists who communicate with visitors without bias and with empathy. LaFASA is currently hiring interns to work as CSSs. They can work remotely and live anywhere in Louisiana. Training begins January 26, 2022.

Learn more here about the hotline, training, resources and other services provided by LaFASA.