We wanted to combine the availability of an automated chat bot, the familiarity of the texting medium and facebook to help victims of sexual assault.

What it does

Simply put, it is a friendly way to find resources for sexual abuse victims.

Current issues with finding help

  • Not enough human counsellors. (Chatlines to RAINN have a wait time of around 20 minutes on average. And each chat lasts around an hour on average. With limited human resources, the number of victims/survivors that can be served is small.)
  • Difficult to get to the right resources.
  • Information is not being presented in a friendly way. (Help websites typically bombard you with a huge wall of text)

How do we solve this?

  • Tailored for your current situation. Builds the feedback based on your response.
  • A friendly voice to talk to.
  • A friendly mode of communication in texting.
  • No wait times.

How we built it

We built it using messenger API with a node backend.

Challenges we ran into

Finding the right flow and words. Empathizing with the victims. Drilling down on a specific problem to tackle

Accomplishments that we're proud of

Having a working prototype and building something that could help someone in crisis

What we learned

  • Newfound respect for people who do support. This is a hard and sensitive topic to get right.
  • Understand in whatever little capacity we may, how difficult it must be for a victim.

What's next for HelpNow

  • Help with documentation
  • Text support for areas with no internet connectivity

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