Sometimes it’s not safe or as comfortable to make the call; we understand. We have a chat feature to connect with you, but know that there are risks.
The internet and technology is not a secure way of communicating as your activity can be tracked. Your abuser could have installed spyware on your device, be tracking your history, etc.
A history of your web activity is listed in your browser. If you feel it’s safe and not suspicious, delete your browsing history so no one else can see it. However, deleting it often may raise flags to someone regularly monitoring your activity, so only delete a shorter period of time or specific activity.
If you suspect your abuser has installed spyware or other technology on your device, we recommend you find another way to communicate such as calling our 24-hour hotline (815-932-5800) from a friend’s phone or work phone.
If at any point during the conversation you need to quickly leave the chat, click the Safety Exit.
When you press the “Chat Now” button, you will be greeted by an advocate who will listen respectfully and sensitively.
We will ask you if you are safe to chat at this time. Asking if you are safe helps us understand if you are in danger or in need of emergency services. An advocate will periodically ask you if you are safe to talk throughout your chatting experience. If at any time it is no longer safe for you to continue to chat it is okay to disconnect. We will not contact you and you can return to our services when it is safe again.
An advocate will ask you some demographic questions to make sure we are able to provide the best resources and assistance to you at the time you contact us.
Harbor House advocates are considered mandated reporters by law. This means if someone were to say they were going to harm themselves, harm or take the life of someone else, disclose that there is abuse or neglect of a minor child, or disclose abuse or neglect of any older adult (age 60 and above) who cannot advocate for themselves, advocates would have to report to the proper authority.
A chat user’s information, including any personal identifiable information, will only be shared with persons linked to Harbor House’s operations. We do not sell, trade, or rent personal information that chat users provide. All staff are required to sign a client confidentiality policy and follow the Illinois Domestic Violence Act protecting the confidentiality of survivors of domestic violence.
Once you leave a chat, any live chat session you start again will count as a new separate conversation and may be with a different trained advocate.
We will not discuss previous conversations you or anyone else has had with us over live chat to ensure that anything you have shared with us previously is kept confidential.
If you need to speak to a particular person at Harbor House, please contact Harbor House at 815-932-5800.
It’s crucial that live chat is a safe experience for both our users and our trained advocates. We won’t tolerate abusive behavior towards our advocates and will block users that are misusing live chat or being abusive.