New chat service for Sexual Assault Care Centers, ICRH Belgium

On the 10th of April ICRHB launched on a new chat service as an outreach tool to the victims with the aim to facilitate the access to the SACCs in Belgium. The team of Prof. Ines Keygnaert has been working on the development of Sexual Assault Care Centers (SACCs) in Belgium since 2015. By the end of October 2017, three sexual assault care centers were set up in the University hospitals of  Ghent, Brussels and Liège.

Belgian Sexual Assault Care Centers (SACCs) provide forensic, medical and psychological care to victims of acute sexual violence. Currently, victims are oriented by the police or self-report to the SACCs by phone, mail or in person. With the aim to improve the access to the SACCs, a pilot study is being conducted on a chat service that will bring victims of SV in touch with a SACC worker. A feasibility study showed this may especially be necessary for hard to reach groups such as adolescents and men, who face more barriers to seek help after SV.

Via a new chat service victims can tell their story anonymously and an attempt can be made to remove barriers to seek further help. A process evaluation will be conducted, aiming to describe the characteristics of its users and the services offered. This pilot study aims to inform the national upscale and potential international implementation of chat services for sexual assault care centers.

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