Icons of messaging applications WhatsApp of Facebook (L), Laiwang of Alibaba Group (C) and WeChat, or Weixin, of Tencent Group.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel is making a foray into the digital world of smartphones with the launch of a new hotline for emotional support via the popular WhatsApp application.
The Haifa and Northern District crisis center is set to launch the new hotline, the first of its kind, on Sunday as part of a national pilot program.
“The truth is that many of us feel much more comfortable ‘talking’ about sensitive subjects through writing and not by speaking,” said Shani Aloni, head of the association in Haifa and the North said ahead of the launch.
The service aims to open a channel, especially to youth, and encourage them to use the application to seek assistance.
“It was important for us to create a place for anyone who wants to contact us in this way. I believe that the hotline will also help teenagers and youth to share what they are going through – and if they feel a need, to ask for help,” she said.
Aloni explained that while the hotline will not be anonymous, due to the nature of WhatsApp, a survey conducted by the association revealed that 46% of respondents prefer this method of contact and assistance.
“I really hope that people will feel comfortable getting in touch with us in this manner. We will be careful to maintain confidentiality of all inquiries, just as we have done until now with the telephone hotline,” she added.
The association’s WhatsApp hotline can be reached via 052-836-1202.
As part of the pilot program, the hotline will be available Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday between 17:00 and 20:00 to inquiries throughout the country.